Quang Ly only covers materials that he can fully convey. As a result, almost any song he performed hits the mark. I like the way a Visualgui.com commenter describes Quang Ly: “He’s handsome, neat, nice, but a bit picky in choosing his repertoires.” From looking at his most current photo (found on the web), he sure is a fine gentleman at the age of fifty-four. I have never met him before, so I don’t know how nice or neat he is, but based on his Noi Nho Mua Dong, he is definitely meticulous in his song selections. With a list of compositions from highly respected songwriters such as Trinh Cong Son, Phu Quang, Doan Chuan and Tu Linh, Quang Ly revives these timeless tunes with his unmistakable sensitivity.
Quang Ly’s distinctiveness is in his relaxed and imaginative presentation. In the album-opener “Ha Noi Dem Tro Gio” (poem by Chu Lai and music by Trong Dai), he paints Ha Noi’s musical landscapes with his pure and passionate vocals. When he croons, “Ha Noi oi, ta nho khong quen / Ha Noi oi, trong trai tim ta” (“Oh Ha Noi, I always remember (and never forget) / Oh Ha Noi, you’ve always in my heart”), his unequivocal delivery shows he means every word he says. In addition, the gorgeous, smooth-toned saxophone solo gives the composition an aesthetic enhancement. Trinh Cong Son’s “Doan Khuc Thu Ha Noi” is another mesmerizing composition that is filled with Ha Noi’s luxurious details. Despite how many singers have tackled Trinh’s music, Quang Ly’s take on Trinh’s work is as fresh and invigorating as it was upon first relinquish. His calm and unadorned phrasing transports every bar with breathless ease. Elsewhere, he sings with tremendous sentiment, over the simple but soulful arrangement, to accentuate the lyrics in “Thuyen va Bien” (poem by Xuan Quynh and music by Phan Huynh Dieu), but the effortlessness is still under control. This is a technique that not too many singers can accomplish; yet Quang Ly mastered it.
Noi Nho Mua Dong is an album that makes every track counts. There is no wasted space on the record. From the title track (poem by Thoa Phuong and music by Phu Quang), Tran Tien’s “Toc Gio Thoi Bay,” Phan Huynh Dieu’s “Thu Tinh Cuoi Mua Thu,” Pham Trong Cau’s “Mua Thu Khong Tro Lai” to Doan Chuan and Tu Linh’s “Goi Gio Cho May Ngan Bay,” Quang Ly gives unforgettable performances one after another. However, he could have not done it without the hands of the skillful producers who laid down elegant and ingenious arrangements to match up with his voice. If singers were picky in choosing the right music to fit their voice, it is highly recommended that they do so to bring listeners a tight set – song for song – recordings.