by Thu Anh
Traditional folk music recordings by singers like Cam Ly, Thanh Thuy and Uyen Trang have climbed to the top of the charts on HCM City Radio's FM Channel only a few weeks after airing.
|Old school: Singer Cam Ly won the 2010 Mai Vang (Golden Ochna) Award for Best Singer in folk music. The annual award is given by HCM City's Nguoi Lao Dong newspaper. — File Photo
Thanh Thuy, who sings with the Military Zone 7 Art Troupe, grew up with folk tunes.
"I hope my songs will encourage the younger generation to discover and love this kind of music," she said. "While music comes and goes quickly from the market, no one can deny its endurance in praise of the country, its people and their lives."
Thuy is part of the next generation of veteran singers including Hong Van, Ai Xuan and Quang Linh who inspired millions of people around the region when they performed folk songs on radio and TV in the 1980s and 1990s.
Her songs, mostly written by songwriters such as Luu Nhat Vu and An Thuyen, have encouraged young fans to dedicate their lives to a more noble purpose.
Thuy said music producers and impresarios often do not want to invite folk singers to perform in their shows.
"I have faced difficulties finding a position in the country's entertainment market. But I have never given up on my music."
Singer Uyen Trang also believes that people are mistaken to think that young fans are only interested in hearing songs about the pain of love and rebellion.
"We have a huge number of fans around the country, from different backgrounds, who love to listen to romantic and folk music," said the up-and-coming talent.
Trang won the 2011 Mai Vang (Golden Ochna) Award for Best Singer in folk music launched annually by the city's Nguoi Lao Dong newspaper.
Trang whipped up a fresh storm among fans, old and young, when she recorded the revolutionary Co Gai Sai Gon Di Tai Dan (Saigonese Girls Carry Ammunition for Liberation Force) composed by Luu Nhat Vu, on her latest album of traditional and folk music called Dong Song Va Tieng Hat (Singing by the River), which released last year.
She also surprised youngsters, who usually prefer pop and rock songs.
"One of our problems is that we lack quality folk songs. While pop-dance singers have many choices, we have so few", said Cam Ly, who has been a singer for 19 years.
Young musicians often prefer creating more current than traditional tunes because "they find it hard to compose folk songs since they have little experience to discover new music topics", she said.
Ly, who began her professional career in 1993, has devoted herself to folk music.
She has received support from her manager and husband, musician Minh Vy, who has played a role in developing Ly as a professional singer and a popular traditional artist.
To lure fans, Ly said music producers should invest in both people and facilities to produce more quality products featuring folk and traditional songs.
"TV stations and music-show organisers also need to pay decent royalties to artists who write and perform traditional music." — VNS