LS. Lê Ngọc Luân: ĐÔI MẮT PHẪN UẤT CỦA NGƯỜI CHA
1 giờ trước
Back then I was a youngster who liked to sing. At ten I knew solfeggio, I hand copied songs that I liked making a notebook, played the mandolin and the bamboo flute. At twelve I had the first guitar of my life and from then on used the guitar as the usual way to accompany myself singing.
I didn't arrive at music as someone choosing a career. I remember that I wrote my first songs as a natural response to emotional urges inside of me... That was in 1956-1957, a time of mixed up dreams, of foolish, frivolous, imaginary voyages. During that green youth, like the first fruit of the season, I really loved music, but I can say that within me it absolutely never evoked in me the desire to become a composer... Around that time I lost my father... Trịnh Công Sơn. Nhạc va đời (Music and Life). Tồng hợp Hậu Giang publisher.
Up to 1957, I had written, I'd have to say, just for fun with my friends. After that I felt the inspiration to write a few pieces. In 1959 I wrote "Ướt mi" (Wet Lashes) and received some encouragement from my friends. Then I set around a dozen love poems to music (like "Nhìn những mùa thu đi" (Watch as Autumns Go)). In 1963, I had a few works that were fairly successful like "Diễm xưa" (Diễm of Long Ago), Biển nhớ (The Sea Remembers), Hạ trắng (Summer White). From that time I had started the road of composing."And from that time, Trịnh Công Sơn was famous.
Love is distant like the sky / Love is close like smoky clouds /
Love is deep like a tree’s shadow / Love cheers like sunlight /
Sad love form passion /
...Love climbs to dizzying heights / Like a bird with tired wings / Like a bird that has shunned the flock, has shunned the sky / Like a bird that has abandoned its flight path.
Send wind to blow the clouds over.Translator: Lyrics to "Gửi gió cho mây ngày bay" by Đoàn Chuẩn and Từ Linh.
Send butterflies in myriad colors back to the flowers
Send more moonlight in the letter's blue hue
Back here with autumn of this existence.
Golden leaves from each branch / fall down one by one.The song "Send Wind To Blow The Clouds Over" is very good, but it's different sort of good, and is loved by a different audience.
Fall down in sad silence / upon the ancient ground.
Returning sail, pour sunlight upon a pair of shouldersAfterwards he returned to rational language:
How much of the flower's color perfumes a pair of lips
("Tiếng đàn tôi" (Sounds of My Guitar), 1947)
When will you come back to the mulberry garden (my love).It's a wonderful line: a mulberry garden is a distant yearning of a civilization that has died off. But Pham Duy adds the following line:
So I can connect the wood to build a bridge (for me) to step across.The idea has narrowed the thought. The lyric becomes superficial, and limited in its resonance. (I've had a chance to present this idea to Phạm Duy. He laughed and said: "is that so?")
("Quê nghèo" (Poor Home Village), 1948)
At Man Khê still thrown to the wind's vast dark dustBut he did write:
At Tiêu Tương still regretting a place oceans away
("Hòn vọng phu" (The Waiting-for-Her-Husband Stone))
Cattle carts enter the citySuch images go beyond the imagination of Lê Thương - the king of lyricists according to Pham Duy's appraisal.
Sadly sound the clappers of their bells
Cattle carts seek the river
But its current has dried up
The herd suddenly feels sad, suddenly feels sad...
("Du mục" (Nomads))
In Son's music, one doesn't see a trace of classical music according to the refined structures of the west. Son writes unaffectedly as if the sensation of music and poetry both overflowed from him."Văn Cao. Epilogue to the collection Trịnh Công Sơn: Em còn nhớ hay em đã quên. Hồ Chí Minh City: Nhà xuất bản Trẻ, 1991, p. 115.
Regarding the music itself, none of Trinh Cong Son's songs are mannered or intricate because they are set upon a few simple melodies that were really in keeping with the sound of sighing during those times.Phạm Duy. Hồi ký thời phản chia quốc công. Midway City, CA: Phạm Duy Cường Publishing, 1991, p. 287.
When I was little I really liked pre-war music (nhạc tiền chiến), and I heard some foreign music. During the 1960s I listened to blues music, which addressed the condition of the black people in America. I really liked the music of Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington... I felt close to that kind of music, and felt that I could take that kind of music to express my own personal feelings."Đất Việt, Canada, June 1986.
I'm just an itinerant singer passing this realm singing my presentiments about dreams of an illusory life.But we must understand "itinerant singer" according to its contemporary meaning: this isn't the blind singer in the market, singing about "The Fall of the Capitol" ("Thất thủ kinh đô") on Đông Ba street, that Huy Cận has depicted, but the image of contemporary troubador, the itinerant balladeers in Bob Dylan's songs from the point of view of his "Never Ending Tour" (1988). The poet Tô Thùy Yên who likes to preach of the rectification of names has spoken clearly about this, calling Trịnh Công Sơn an "authentic troubador":
A troubadour is a special artist who stands between music and poetry, or more precisely, a troubador is a poet more than a composer.Troubadours usually appear and stand out in eras seen as uncertain and tumultuous, eras when the peoples' voices have been drowned out, the peoples' freedoms have been coerced, the value of human life has been lowered, the peoples' happiness has been seized and the people's desires have been enclosed.
Yesterday, moon bright and hazyTranslator: Words to a well-known ca dao or folk lyric.
Going to bail water, I met You by chance
I've never had the ambition to become someone who writes famous songs. But if life offered me that gift then I couldn't not accept it. And once I accepted it then I had a responsibility to everyone.He said it delightfully like that. It's simple in reality: people have given him bouquets and flasks of wine. But who gave him responsibility? He sang "Every day I choose a happiness" (Mỗi ngày tôi chọn một niềm vui), when his friend Thái Bá Vân, assistant director of the Hanoi Art Institute complained: "all year I haven't had a happy day." If you want to have a nice time, you must go to Saigon... hang out with Sơn. But at most it's a happiness like the fate of a caged bird, a fish in a vessel. Understood in that way, his friends didn't ask much of a weak performing artist, living and dying in the midst of a siege like him.
Ocean waves, ocean waves don't push meSocialist realism could create better songs for mankind. But to create something similar to this song, then there's no way. A genius is not someone who doesn't imitate anyone, but is someone that nobody can imitate.
Don't push me falling under someone's feet
Ocean waves, ocean waves don't push yourselves
If I push the ocean, where will the waves go?
The waves' hairs have turned white and the mountains are buried deep
I'll go back somewhere
Back to a place where clouds shroud my dreams
On the Route 9, the Southern Laos battlefront (1971)... in a bunker dwelling by the Xe Banghiang River... Listening... listening stealthily - yes sir, at that time it was called listening stealthily - to the Saigon station, by chance I "met" Trịnh Công Sơn through the Khánh Ly's. "Diễm of Long Ago" (Diễm xưa)... Rain still rain falls... how can you know that the stone stelae aren't pained... Quite devilish! That melody and those lyrics naturally 'fastened' upon my imagination from that unexpected moment. Then "Like the Night Heron's Wings Flying (Như cánh vạc bay)... Quite strange!... Unexpected feelings, those smooth, intoxicating songs... yes there's that sadness, that pain, that twisting tighter... but there was still something wholesome arising from it. It's like it's Beauty... Melancholy, vague, difficult to define, but clearly it's beauty, such beauty... And it's also some kind of spooky...Nguyễn Duy, from Tôi thích làm vua. Ho Chi Minh City: Nhà xuất bản Văn Nghệ, 1987.
In 1972, when I was a foot soldier in the forests of the Truong Son mountains. A buddy of mine after the battle of Lam Sơn 719 snatched a really good Sony radio.Of even greater value, Thọ has noted his emotions when he advanced into Saigon and heard Trinh Cong Son singing "Open Our Arms Wide In a Great Circle (Nối vòng tay lớn) noontime on April 30, 1975 upon Saigon radio:
On those evenings in Trường Sơn, waiting until everyone went to sleep, we turned on the BBC and even the Saigon stations. This was the first time I heard Khánh Ly's voice with Trịnh Công Sơn's music.
We were of an age who grew up in the North and were familiar with grandiose musical works. Amidst the static of the airwaves I could hear a strange voice of a new kind of music. A passionate music, unclear from its words to its form. A kind of youthful music, unlike any kind of youthful music I had ever heard, not even on those old hand cranked recordings that we listened to throughout those lamentable days at the outdoor market on those days after the peace.
It's strange but for me at that time Trinh Cong Son's music was like a breath of wind from some far off place, detached from the rancour of the battle, a fervent love for one's fellow man, one's race, friends, peace, and truth. It was strange because the lyrics were non-linear and unlike the traditional manner of writing songs in Hanoi at that time.
"The world is vast... brothers and sister we're home... meeting each other in this great storm spinning round and round in the vast sky..."
The singing was not a sound of challenge to fight to the death. The words were not the sounds of pools of blood like the ordinary end to a war, these words at that moment served to relax the atmosphere of resentfulness and spite.
Open our arms wide in a great circle.A voice that relaxed the fingers holding the guns. One day, one hour when the lives of millions of people hung by a thread. How can an event like that not be momentous?
There's no war that never has a flip side, but the sound of that voice, that music, opened up for both sides sounded like an invisible dose of medicine that relaxed a time that could have easily flared up into anger.
That was my second memory of him.
"Right after this, a couple of times to console myself, to sustain myself, I softly sang "Oh don't despair" (Tôi ơi đừng tuyệt vọng)... and several other song in many other situations, but I still remember each detail and thank Trịnh Công Sơn for that noon broadcast in Saigon on that day."Nguyễn Văn Thọ. Nhớ Trịnh Công Sơn. Germany. April 4, 2001.