Ai Van – Dem A Dao

More than a decade ago, Ai Van was one of the shining stars on Paris By Night. Although her popularity quickly diminished, she made the wise choice to strike out on her own. She was getting nowhere with Thuy Nga. The production could not get her further than what she had accomplished.

She tried to move beyond her signature style, but her venture into pop territory was a disaster. She butchered one of Trinh Cong Son’s tunes. Her water-clear voice isn’t suitable for pop music; therefore, she returns to what she does best with her newest release, Dem A Dao. Although the album title is hinting at northern folks, Ai Van tackles all three regions. Her flow and enunciation on the title track, written and arranged by Phu Quang, are simply gorgeous. From the traditional instruments to the northern melody, the song fits her style like hand in glove. Likewise, she delivers the southern piece (Cao Van Lau’s “Da Co Hoai Lang”) with no less luminescent. Both Duy Cuong’s arrangement and her ageless vocals are breathtaking on Pham Duy’s “Nu Tam Xuan.”

Even with a few disappointing tracks, such as her duet with Ai Xuan on Duy Khanh’s “Ai Ra Xu Hue” and the mechanical production from Chi Tai on “Beo Dat May Troi,” Dem A Dao is definitely a remarkable comeback for Ai Van.