I took a few days off work to unwind and chill with the fam. Surprisingly, the album I listened to the most while relaxing was Do Bao’s Canh Cung (Bow Back). Unlike his intricate and colorful production on Nhat Thuc, Canh Cung featured easy-listening melodies and easy-following lyrics that are attractive to young audiances.
The CD opener, “Buc Thu Tinh Thu Hai” (The Second Love Letter), is the catchiest track on the record. Backed by a sensational arrangement, Ho Quynh Huong leads a persuading performance that has been stuck in my head ever since I first heard it. I am still humming to the tune even though I can’t remember the words. True to its title, “Dieu Ngot Ngao Nhat” (The Sweetest Thing), is the sweetest performance on the album by the sweetheart Tran Thu Ha. Beside her voice, Huy Dat’s flute and Tran Hoa’s whistle added a marvelous sound to Do Bao’s jazz arrangement.
Canh Cung also featured two male vocalists: Tuan Minh and Le Hieu. Unfortunately their voices are lost because female singers dominate the album. Two of the most powerful performances are from Ngoc Anh and Khanh Linh. While Ngoc Anh’s voice is deep and foggy on “Anh Da Khac Xua” (You Are Not Who You Used to Be), Khanh Linh’s vocal is clear and pitch-perfect on “Dieu Hoang Duong Nhat” (The Most Absurd Thing). Each brings a unique style to Do Bao’s compositions.
As a young musician, Do Bao offers some fresh vibes to the Vietnamese music. His freshman effort, Canh Cung, demonstrates his writing and producing skills. He has a style of his own that is both exclusive and pleasing to the ears.