Trang Nhung – Son

Love it when a musician goes the extra miles crafting an experience rather than just cutting an album. Son is an outstanding contemporary folks record to be listened from start to finish thanks to Trang Nhung’s superb music taste and thought-out theme.

From the opening “Son” (Đức Nghĩa) to the closing “Lời Ru Âu Lạc” (Nguyễn Minh Sơn), each composition is selected with care to suit her beautiful voice. Furthermore, she approaches each tune with soul, simplicity, clarity and an appreciation and comprehension of Vietnamese various folks styles.

While her rendition of “Không Thể Và Có Thể” (Phó Đức Phương) is emphatic without over-dramatic, her own “Áo Dài Việt Nam,” which based on her husband’s poetry, is graceful to showcase the elegant beauty of Vietnamese long dress: “Dịu dàng và dịu dàng / chiếc áo thật thứ tha / Nghiêng nghiêng hồn sông núi / Nghiêng nghiêng bóng tre xanh.” I can visualize the mountains part, but not the bamboo part on “áo dài.”

What makes Son so damn enjoyable is that each song stands out on its own and yet goes well together as a whole package thanks to the breathtaking arrangments courtesy of Minh Mẫn and Yên Lam. The incorporation of traditional Vietnamese musical instruments with Western rhythm section and horns not only add new vibes to the album, but also bring out fresh flavors to favorites such as “Giấc Mơ Trưa” (Giáng Son), “Ôi Quê Tôi” (Lê Minh Sơn) and “Chênh Vênh” (Lê Cát Trọng Lý). Haven’t heard a Vietnamese album this good in quite a while.