Ha Pham – Tinh Thu

Ha Pham who is new to me has a very nice vocal range. She can reach her contralto or flight with her soprano with ease, but listeners can’t hear that on her new album, Tinh Thu, until they get to the last two tracks. Although her rendition of Trinh Cong Son’s “Diem Xua” is very poignant, she only uses her low tone. Even on the semi-classical arrangement of Nguyen Anh 9’s “Co Don” that provides the space for her to grab the high notes, she chooses to go for a more soothing delivery.

The breakthrough moment is when she skip a whole octave on Phu Quang’s “Thuong Lam Toc Dai Oi.” She trades back and forth between her mezzo-soprano and soprano effortlessly, particularly in these two lines: “Em van am tham di ve dau de ta thuong lam / Yem rach con ngan duoc gio, tinh em dang do, yem nao che.” Her take on Duong Thu’s “Goi Anh” is astounding. The tune starts out soft then progresses into a powerhouse opera, which is not all that stunning if you’re familiar with the tune or if you have heard of Thanh Lam’s version. What makes the track brilliant is to hear how Ha Pham build her crescendo to the climax. Her soprano on operatic singing is quite compelling.

Because she saves the big surprise for last, you feel like the album is just getting started. If the album were to kick off with “Goi Anh,” the experience would have been a disappointment. Mad props to Tran Manh Hung, Hoai Sa and Vo Thien Thanh for the savory orchestration and arrangement.