Don Ho’s Signiture Pieces

In 1993, Don Ho and Lam Thuy Van made a record together when they were both on top of their game. Du Nang Co Mong Manh was the album I played the most between 93-94. Although most of the recordings are outdated now because of the translated tunes, two still remain timeless. The title track, which is written by Le Minh Bang, is one. Don Ho’s languorous flow deep inside the rumba arrangement makes Thai Chau’s and Nguyen Khang’s later rendition sound stiff and stilted. The light touch and effortlessness in his delivery—especially when he sings low, almost in a whispering voice—is still unmatchable. Duc Huy’s “Nhu Da Dau Yeu” is one of the most recorded ballads among the young singers, yet Don Ho’s version still stands out the most for me. What makes his singing so seductive and persuasive is the soulfulness he brings to it. He comes off like a real man when phrases, “Anh den voi em voi tat ca tam hon,” and holds on the last word of “Em den voi anh voi tat ca trai tim…” with love and passion. His technical skills were flawless from the breath control to crescendo to the way he leaves the notes floating in the air. On top of all that, he always sings his heart out like a man with soul and sensibility.