The Chinese


From the 1840s to 1880s Chinese immigrants flocked to California and the West Coast to work the gold fields, factories and railroad.  Approximatly 322,000 Chinese arrived before the Chinese Exclusion Act was passed in 1882 which restricted Chinese immigration to the U.S.



 Photo courtesy of pixgood, all rights reserved. 

 Historically the Chinese encountered a great deal of prejudice due to their unfamiliar customs, language and looks. However, by the early 20th century the Chinese culture captured the imagination of many Americans including songwriters and composers.  In the songs below, the Chinese culture are used to give these love songs an exotic flare.  To learn about each indiviual song click on the photo or the title.

tea s  Tea Leaves, c 1921.  Composer: Richard Whiting.  Lyricist: Raymond Egan.

Towsee Mongalay Towesee Mongalay, 1915.  Composer: Grahame Jones.

Fan Tan Man  Fan Tan Man, 1916.  Composer: Oscar Gardner.  Lyricist: Fred D. Moore.


Other songs such as those below express the longing of a distant lover in an enchanting land that China was believed to be.  

lo-ki   Lo-Ki, 1919.  Composer: Irving Bibo.  Lyricist: Henry Bergman.

Ming toy   Pretty Ming Toy, 1920.  Composer: Sigmund Romberg.

pretty  Pretty Little Almond Eyes, 1919.  Composer: Ralph A. Foote.  Lyricist: Edward Beck.

Pretty Little Tonkin Girl  Pretty Little Tonkin Girl, 1907.  Composer: Vincent Scotto.  Lyricist: James O’Dea.