Beside Thanh Lam, I could not imagine any other singers in Vietnam would have the confidence to release a Trinh Cong Son album with only 6 tracks. Since Trinh had more than 600 works and at least a hundred of them are extraordinary, I wonder why only 6 at first but once I listen to Thanh Lam’s Ru Mai Ngan Nam, the answer is in every track. Each piece is carefully crafted in an intimate atmosphere (thinh phong) to offer listeners a pure appreciation for Trinh’s work.
From “Nhin Nhung Mua Thu Di” to “Ru Em Tung Ngon Xuan Nong,” Thanh Lam and her musicians lull Trinh’s magnum opuses to an exquisite level with her exotic voice, mellowing piano, soothing violin, and grooving guitar. Together they breathe everlasting life into Trinh’s work of art. On “Uot Mi,” Trinh’s lyric is wet (uoc); Lam’s flow is pouring rain. Her vocals ride intricately into the brilliant piano composition to generate an aesthetic experience. On “Ru Ta Ngam Ngui,” her delivery is more refined, focused, and sharpened than her previous performance on Ru Doi Di Nhe. She also shows her innovative stylishness with Opera experimentation on “Rung Xua Da Khep.” She sounds as mature, fresh, and full of passion as ever on “Tinh Xa.”
If Trinh Cong Son were still alive, he would be enchanted to witness his works have finally flourished into their full potential. It’s a joy to see an artist like Thanh Lam to constantly elevating her crafts and pushing herself. She takes Trinh’s music to a place where no other artists have taken us before. Thanks Lam for bringing us “real” music we’re all thirsting for.
Many thanks to Thao Suong for the album.