So I got through 94 episodes of 70 Years of Vietnamese Ballad (1930 – 2000) produced by Hoai Nam. While the program is informative, Hoai Nam makes so many careless mistakes like introducing Lam Phuong’s “Bai Tango Cho Em” but played Hoang Nguyen’s “Bai Tango Cho Rieng Em” and explaining bolero but played the chacha arrangement in “Tau Dem Nam Cu” performed by Thanh Thuy.
After making his apology he went on to defend how the rhythm is the structure of a song. He stated that a songwriter picked out a rhythm that would best fit for his lyrics; therefore, an arranger or producer should stick to the written rhythm. Making the change in the tempo would consider disrespectful to the songwriter. With that kind of thinking no wonder Vietnamese singers who covered ballad make no attempt in reviving old songs. I rather hear an old song with a creative, innovative makeover than just singing straight from what was written.
While I understand that Hoai Nam has limited resource and budget to produce such a broad program, he should put more efforts into the third segment, which is from 1975 to 2000. From late 1930s up to 1975, he has done a decent job of introducing many Vietnamese songwriters at that time. In the third segment, he reintroduced Tram Tu Thien, Ngo Thuy Mien, Lam Phuong, Anh Bang and Tu Cong Phung and yet never even mentioned Duong Thu who is in my opinion one of the renowned ballad songwriters.
Nevertheless I have to give Hoai Nam the credit for attempting to do quite a daunting task of covering 70 years of Vietnamese music. Listen if you have a chance or if you’re interested in learning about a bit of history about Vietnamese music.