Don Ho’s Top 10 Duets
Even though Don Ho has a distinctive voice (one and only), he never sounds awkward when performing with a partner. His greatest strength is that he never overshadows his partners but brings out the aesthetic qualities in them. I truly admired this eminence of his and there is no one can come close to him on it. Even Dam Vinh Hung can’t blend in seamlessly like Don Ho because Dam Vinh Hung always dominated his partner. On the other hand, Don Ho knows exactly when to lower his voice to let his partner shines and when to pick up where his partner leaves off. If Don Ho understands women in real life as he does in singing, he would be the perfect soul mate. By the way, I am talking about the Vietnamese Don Ho, not the Hawaiian Don Ho.
10. Mot Thuo Yeu Nguoi – Don Ho & Chau Ngoc
Here is an example where Don Ho brings out Chau Ngoc’s voice and not overshadowing her. When they both sing at the same time, he switches his vocals constantly to mesh with Chau Ngoc. He does it so smoothly that you don’t even notice the changes in his tone.
09. Mong Ao – Don Ho & Dalena
This is a beautiful piece of composition. Both Don Ho and Dalena do an exceptional humming tune to create a soothing illusion. These two are creative, talented and they are not afraid to experiment with their voices. Together with the dramatic musical score, they have brought a fantasy world to the song with their ingenious vocals.
08. Chieu Mot Minh Qua Pho – Don Ho & Lam Thuy Van
This version of Chieu Mot Minh Qua Pho is quite unique. I don’t think anyone had done a duet on this song before. Obviously Chieu Mot Minh Qua Pho (strolling alone in town in an evening) has do be done alone. You can’t stroll alone with two people. But hey! Don Ho and Lam Thuy Van do an implausible performance and their voices are convincible.
07. Thuyen Tinh Tren Song – Don Ho & Ngoc Hue
Beautiful Chinese melody with delightful Vietnamese lyrics. Although there are tons of translated versions, Thuyen Tinh Tren Song is the most romantic one because of the exotic lyrics and the striking duet from Ngoc Hue and Don Ho. Ngoc Hue’s cracked-voiced mantra works so well with Don Ho’s smoky vocals. Pay close attention the adlib at the end; you’ll notice how they switch back and forth backing up (giong be) each other’s lines. It’s just tantalizing.
06. Together – Don Ho & Dalena
Just listen to the way Don Ho skillfully exhales the word “together…” in English and “em yeu…” in Vietnamese. It’s just breathtaking and I love the beautiful English translation by Dalena, “Every season must fades with a passing of time. Time can never fade love like yours and mine.” Both Dalena and Don Ho are artistically creative so when the two come together, they have created a beautiful harmony.
05. Trai Tim Khong Ngu Yen – Don Ho & Nhu Quynh
The upbeat makes this version of Trai Tim Khong Ngu Yen stands out from the rest. Even though the beat is a bit fast, Don Ho and Nhu Quynh are capable of maintaining the elegant elements of the lyrics. The duet breaks away from Nhu Quynh’s usual horrific style and gives her a new dimension. Thanks to the incredible Don Ho.
04. Bay Gio Con Yeu – Don Ho & Lam Thuy Van
What a beautiful Chinese melody. The keyboard is compelling and the voices are mesmerizing. Lam Thuy Van does a wonderful job of supporting Don Ho in the background during the hooks. Every successful man has a great woman behind him. Lam Thuy Van is the great woman behind this successful performance.
03. Ban Tinh Cuoi – Don Ho & Diem Lien
Even the infamous Huong Lan and Thai Chau cannot bring out the aesthetic experience like Don Ho and Diem Lien can. Don Ho amazes me how he could pull off the high note, “tinh la dang…” then lets go, “cay…” with a long breath. The beat kicks in and Diem Lien skillfully backs him up so he could restore his breath. I would never thought Diem Lien and Don Ho could sound so well together if they never done this song.
02. Nhung Loi Me Hoac – Don Ho & Ngoc Lan
Actually Ngoc Lan doesn’t sing in this one but her dialogue is extremely seductive. Even though Don Ho gives a soulful performance, the song wouldn’t be complete without Ngoc Lan. It’s so creative how they go back and forth in a conversation between a man who lost trust in his girl and she keeps on trying to fool him. With Ngoc Lan’s sweet and sexy voice, it is hard not to be seduced and Don Ho does a great job of conveying the hurtful feelings that a man goes through when his girl lies to him.
01. Co Ua – Don Ho & Lam Thuy Van
With Lam Thuy Van’s high pitch and Don Ho’s low timbre, they have created an opposite attraction. I am quite surprise how the mixture works so well. They do an excellent job of complimenting each other like a perfect couple. They take turn to be dominant and submissive. Combining both beautiful voices with Asia’s crystal clear musical arrangement, this version of Co Ua is unbeatable. I haven’t heard anything close to it.
There you have it. Don Ho’s top ten duets. The singer I would like Don Ho to duet with is My Tam. Her voice is so powerful and clear and she hasn’t been able to find a perfect match. Even Dam Vinh Hung clashes with My Tam because their voices competing with one another instead of integrating. Dam Vinh Hung does not have the back up singing skills that Don Ho has. Don Ho must have picked up these invaluable skills from singing in the choir when he was in high school. See! You never know when your skills set will pay off.