Chinese netizens mourn Cantopop composer Joseph Koo Ka-fai
Published: Jan 05, 2023 01:12 AM
Photo: Screenshot from

Joseph Koo Ka-fai Photo: Screenshot from

Chinese netizens have paid tributes to renowned composer Joseph Koo Ka-fai who passed away in Canada on Tuesday at the age of 92.

Koo was born in Guangzhou, South China's Guangdong Province in 1931 and moved to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region with his family after the outbreak of the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression (1931-45). 

He created a lot of memorable theme songs for Hong Kong dramas and films, including The Bund and Below the Lion Rock, which gained many fans in the Chinese mainland and helped create a new market for Cantopop.

In 2007, he wrote the theme song for The Drive of Life, TVB's production to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to the motherland. Koo had received numerous awards in his life. In the 1990s, Koo moved to Canada.

Guo Minglu, an assistant professor at the Shenyang Conservatory of Music, told the Global Times on Wednesday that Koo played an important role in the Hong Kong Philharmonic. His music represented the Hong Kong spirit of Cantopop and was part of the development of Hong Kong in the 1980s and 1990s. 

He said Koo pioneered a skilful fusion of traditional Cantonese folk music with Western pop music, and contributed to a unique Hong Kong sound.

"His works integrated various types of music styles and were deeply influenced by Cantonese opera, binging significant and far-reaching influence to the development of the Hong Kong music scene," said Guo.

The hashtag "Joseph Koo Ka-fai passed away" gained 260 million views on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo on Wednesday. Many Chinese netizens expressed their condolences.

"His great achievement in Cantopop is incomparable! His music could heel people's hearts and will be handed down to future generations. May he rest in peace," one Chinese netizen said.