Since Trinh Cong Son composed his songs on a guitar, they are best to be performed on a guitar. Too bad I haven’t have the fortunate of experiencing the artist himself strumming his heart out to Khanh Ly’s soulful vocals, but I suppose I could settle for Ha Tran and Thu Phuong in Loi Cua Giong Song for now.
Not that I need to kiss up to Ha Tran for what I have castigated her Doi Thoai 06, but I must give her the propers she deserves. Her rendition of “Mua Hong” proves that she doesn’t need all the hi-tech shit to be innovative. Accompanied by simple-picking guitar and subtle-plucking bass, she reinvented one of Trinh’s lyrical compositions with her effortless verve and harmonic sensibility. Now that’s the youthful Ha Tran I am rooting for. The one that could give me nostalgia with her unadorned interpretation of “Tinh Xa” and “Tinh Nho.”
In contrast to Ha Tran’s luscious sweet, Thu Phuong’s brooding quality is charming in its own way. Her streamlined approach in “Co Mot Dong Song Da Qua Doi” is both exhilarating and touching, like she could come out and swing even though it rains inside. And when she rains, she pours on “Nay Em Co Nho,” “Roi Nhu Da Ngay Ngo,” and “Tinh Sau.”
Mad props go to the guitarists—Huynh Huu Doan, Dang Huy Hoang, Do Dinh Phuong and Nguyen Xuan Thao—for bringing back the minimalism in Trinh’s work. And of course, can’t forget Vu Anh Tuan for those dope-ass bass lines.