Friday 2 August 2013

Một ngày như mọi ngày

Damien (Brachet) has asked me to shoot a short video to introduce myself and the song Một ngày như mọi ngày, which he had selected to feature on Asia Deep, a compilation album which will present Asian artists from the underground scene: Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, Hong Kong, China, Singapore and Vietnam which is oddly represented by myself. For all the years I have known him - nearly a decade now that I think of it, Damien had nurtured that project. That's actually the reason why he approached me at the very beginning. We became friends but he always has in mind projects which may involve all the people whose work he appreciates.
Một ngày như mọi ngày was part of the soundtrack of my childhood. My mother had a tape of Trịnh Công Sơn songs which she had bought at Thanh bình, the only shop in Paris in the early 70's which would sell Vietnamese products. Khánh Ly was Trịnh Công Sơn's muse and was the first one to record his songs. Just her voice and he playing the guitar. Simple, rough and poignant. Hers is one of the most distinctively beautiful voice in Vietnamese popular music. I had no idea what she was singing about, but the songs all had this poetic sadness - Trịnh Công Sơn was dubbed the Vietnamese Bob Dylan after all, and we were still in the middle of the Vietnam War. I remember my parents trying to catch the news on the TV. I can imagine how much they must have suffered watching their home country falling apart in front of their eyes on that small black and white TV screen.
Asia Deep is produced by a French small label called Pschent, which is known to the public by the popular Buddha Bar and Hôtel Costes series. After seeing the cover design they have done for the present release, I'm afraid it will give people the wrong notion that it will just be another of those lounge music collections with no edge... Damien is fighting and struggling with the DA to change the artwork. But what do you expect when you have a bunch of blokes who want to release an album of Asian music when they themselves know nothing about Asia except the usual clichés....? 
 I listened to what I have done with the song and I must say that even 15 years after, I'm still happy about it and quite surprised it doesn't sound dated - just pardon my awful Vietnamese pronunciation!

The video combines footages I have from Taipei, my home and Đà Lạt in Vietnam. Shot in black & white, natürlich!!!!

At the Couvent des Oiseaux, Đà Lạt 

Một ngày như mọi ngày - Trailer

My dancer friend Thang Dao will play the song to Khánh Ly. I really would love to do a project with her. The idea had grown in my head years and years ago...
"Hurry, her time is running out! She's nearly 70!!! But she still sings superbly" Thang said
I had written to Trịnh Công Sơn back in 1998, asking him permission to do new arrangements on two of his songs. He kindly replied and gave me his blessing. I was allowed to do whatever I wanted, he wrote. Alas he died before I could send him the finished recording. 

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