Out of the blue, I received a package from songwriter Pham Anh Dung. It turned out to be an unofficial copy of an album titled Quynh Ca with a sticky note reads: “Donny, I have enjoyed reading your web site (Visualgui).” I was flattered and immediately popped in the CD.
Quynh Ca is a compilation of Pham Anh Dung’s poetry-turned-music compositions about Quynh flower. “Quynh,” the only tune PAD had written the lyrics himself, gets a sensual, intimate performance by Dieu Hien whose voice is slightly raspy and simply intoxicating. There are two versions of “Dem Nguyet Quynh” (poem by Vuong Ngoc Long). I have not heard of Xuan Thanh before, but her take is much more soulful than Bao Yen’s. The track starts off with a poem’s recitation backing up by the Vietnamese zither and flute. Xuan Thanh’s gorgeous soprano floats like a nightingale in a dark sky. Who else could express “Quynh Lan” (poem by Pham Ngoc) better than Quynh Lan herself? Her recording of “Quynh Nhu,” “Quynh Le” and “Voi Quynh” are no less hypnotizing.
After the first spin, I was impressed. I contacted PAD to get more information about the album to write a review. Unfortunately, Quynh Ca is only a “burn” album for friends. Still, the concept of Quynh is so clever that I decided to mention it. If any singer wants to cut a themed album, this is the way to go. Hint. Hint. Hint.