Love Notes

As I sat down to write about “our story,” I couldn’t possibly sum it up without delving into the details. Dung and I met through my website ( I invited her to a movie. On our first date, she impressed me with her appetite by cleaning up a huge plate of shrimp pasta at ten o’clock at night. The long hours we sat by the Hudson River trading our stories. The first time we held hands and didn’t want to let go. The days filled with continuous emails back and forth. The evenings filled with food, music and laughter.

The memories are endless; therefore, I would like to do something a bit different instead of writing a novel about us. One of the things that connected us is music, particularly Vietnamese intimate ballads. So we wanted to put together an album with the songs we have loved and shared. And instead of writing the sleeve notes, I put together the “love notes” for the seven tracks that recollect glimpses of our story:

Tình Tự Mùa Xuân
Music & Lyrics: Từ Công Phụng
Vocal: Tuấn Ngọc

I can still remember the fresh vibe of the clear, breezy summer night like yesterday. On a dark, lonesome throughway, I was driving Dung home from our first date. We glanced at each other as “Tình Tự Mùa Xuân” began:

Em lại đây với anh
Ngồi đây với anh
Trong cuộc đời này.
Nghe thời gian lướt qua
Mùa xuân khẽ sang
Chừng như không gian đang sưởi ấm
những giọt tình nồng.

Come to me,
Sit by my side,
Share this life with me.
Listen to the time glide by,
As the soft approach of spring,
Warms the air
And our tender tears of love.

I didn’t need to say a word. Tuấn Ngọc’s romantic voice said it all.

Bài Ca Hạnh Ngộ
Music & Lyrics: Lê Uyên Phương
Vocal: Thiên Phượng

Although the journey ahead could be rough and treacherous, we can make it if we hold on to each other’s hand. We promised never to get go like Lê Uyên Phương had suggested:

Rồi mai đây đi trên đường đời
Đừng buông tay âm thầm tìm về cô đơn
Later, on the journey through life,
Don’t let go of my hand to seek your quiet solitude.

Vì Đó Là Em
Music & Lyrics: Diệu Hương
Vocal: Quang Dũng

Dung used to call me “dẽo miệng” (slick mouth) when I lip-synced the following lyrics to her:

Không cần biết em là ai
Không cần biết em từ đâu
Không cần biết em ngày sau.
Ta yêu em bằng mấy ngàn biển rộng
Ta yêu em qua đông tàn ngày tận
Yêu em như yêu vùng trời mênh mông
Who you are doesn’t matter,
Where you’re from, I don’t wonder,
What you’ll be, I don’t worry.
My love is a thousand oceans strong,
My love will fight winters and eternities long,
My love, like the sky, will always be.

Sure my dear, I love you just the way you are.

Nụ Hôn Gởi Gió
Music: Hoàng Việt Khanh
Lyrics: Hiền Vy
Vocal: Quang Lý

Besides Hoàng Việt Khanh’s composing skill and Quang Lý’s gorgeous delivery, what makes this contemporary folk tune irresistible is Hiền Vy’s playful poetry:

Môi em mọng đỏ, là đỏ như mơ
Cho anh nhờ gió hôn vào là vào môi em.

Your full red lips, crimson like a ripe apricot,
Let me summon the breeze to give them a gentle kiss.

Dung pointed out how folks back in the days revealed their feelings in such a graceful approach. I wanted to sing this tune dedicated to Dung on our wedding day but my voice fails me.

Niệm Khúc Cuối
Music & Lyrics: Ngô Thụy Miên
Vocal: Thụy Vũ

We danced to this romantic ballad together for the first time and we knew it has to be the theme song for our wedding:

Cho tôi xin em như gối mộng
Cho tôi ôm em vào lòng.
Xin cho một lần, cho đêm mặn nồng
Yêu thương vợ chồng
Be the pillow I embrace,
Let me hold you in my arms,
Let us share warm nights together,
Loving one another as husband and wife.

Rồi Đây Anh Sẽ Đưa Em Về Nhà
Music & Lyrics: Phạm Duy
Vocal: Mộng Thúy

A lovely ballad from Phạm Duy reminds us of the days we sat in the Eastman Park talking about life, family, music and everything else until two in the morning. Accompanied by a simple, elegant piano, Mộng Thúy’s sensual soprano brings back the memories:

Rồi đây anh sẽ đưa em trở về
Về nơi công viên yên vui lặng lẽ.
Hãy ngồi đây, ghế đá ngày xưa
Dưới hàng thông có gió lửng lơ
And I will return with you
To the quiet park of our youth,
Where we may sit on the old bench
Under pines caressed by the breeze.

Bài Không Tên Số 28
Music & Lyrics: Vũ Thành An
Vocal: Tuấn Ngọc

Our story is long and filled with memories and this is just the beginning. Each day our love grows stronger than the day before and we’re looking forward to sharing our lives together like Vũ Thành An had written:

Cho đến trăm năm vẫn còn say
Xin đến trăm năm không rời tay
Until a hundred years pass, our love shall never end,
For a hundred years more, never letting go.

The big day is coming, so I won’t be blogging much. After the wedding we will head to Jamaica for a short honeymoon; therefore, I am going to leave you with the album we have compiled for you to enjoy while I am away. Thanks everyone for being such wonderful visitors.

Thanks to Trong Do and Anh-Chi Do for all English translations.