Lee Kirby about Vietnamese Music
Lee Kirby told Tuoi Tre newspaper that he is infatuated with Vietnamese music and he knows many Vietnamese songs by heart.
Lee has performed and uploaded many Vietnamese songs like “Em oi, Ha Noi Pho”, “Diem Xua”, “Que Nha”, “Dem Thay Ta La Thac Do” and “Nong Nan Ha Noi” on YouTube and attracted a great deal of attention from Vietnamese around the world. Here are Kirby’s own words about his love for Vietnamese music.
“I’ve lived in Vietnam for a long time and I believe that I have become absorbed by Vietnamese music.
I love Trinh Cong Son’s music and I think that I can feel the beauty, which not only comes from the melodies and lyrics. Whenever I listen to Trinh’s music, I’m moved. It is difficult to explain as my Vietnamese is not very good while Trinh’s music is said to be difficult to understand even for many Vietnamese.
But someone has said that there is no border for arts in general and music in particular. I think it is true in my case.
I listened to Trinh’s “Diem Xua” the first time in Bach Ma, where we were admiring the waterfall, through the voice of my friend. At that time I felt the loss and sacrifice in that song. Surprisingly, I knew that the meaning of that song was what I thought it was. I believe that I began loving Trinh’s music at that moment. I decided to sing that song, even though I knew that it was difficult.
I didn’t plan to become a singing phenomenon with that song because first of all, I sang it because I liked it. I didn’t know that it was posted on YouTube. I was very surprised when many people asked me about it later.
Since then, I have had more motivation to sing Vietnamese songs. I have been invited to sing for Vietnamese people in many places in the world. It is a great happiness!
I felt lucky to be assigned to sing a Tran Tien song for overseas Vietnamese in the UK during the Tet holiday. I lost sleep for this great happiness.
Certainly, it is not easy to sing Vietnamese songs. I’ve made a list of must-do things before performing a Vietnamese song: Feeling the melody, translating the lyrics, committing lyrics to memory, practicing pronunciation, accompaniment by guitar, seeking assistance from experts, practicing and making some creative changes.
I’m glad that some foreign friends of mine now can sing several sentences in Vietnamese songs, which was an “impossible mission” several months ago. Many people asked me why I must work hard to sing Vietnamese songs when I am very busy with my job in England.
I think simply that is the way I show my respect to listeners and the music I love. Moreover, music is not simply melodies and lyrics, but it is the culture and soul of a country. Vietnam is now a second home in my heart.
Do you ask me whether I listen to modern Vietnamese pop music? I regret to say no because of many reasons that I can’t say here. However, I like and I’m impressed by some young singers who don’t sing market music products that are too easy and similar.
Many people asked me how much do I love Vietnamese music? You may burst out laughing when you hear that I love Vietnamese music in general and Trinh’s music in particular, to the point that if any singing contest requires only contestants who can sing in Vietnamese, not speak in Vietnamese, then I will surely register.
Video clips from Lee Kirby: Đêm Thấy Ta Là Thác Đổ Diễm xưa