Songwriter releases album of songs from poems

July 18, 2022 - 09:48

HCM CITY — Musician and songwriter Hoài An has released his first album in 13 years.

Thơ Ca (Poetical Songs) features 12 musical versions of poems by Lâm Xuân Thi.

“Poetry by Thi is very unique and distinctive," he said.

"Reading some of his poems, you can realise his poetic style. For me, his poetry presents a dissimilar perspective, featuring both honesty and humour.”

According to Hoài An, this isn’t the first time he set a poem to music.

“It is the poem 18 Đã Đến Chưa (Has the Age of 18 Arrived Yet) publishing on newspaper Mực Tím for school students. At that time, I was was a high school student,” he recalled.

Cover of the album 'Thơ Ca' (Poetical Songs) featuring songs by Hoài An and lyrics by poet Lâm Xuân Thi. — Photo courtesy of the songwriter

At the end of 2020, by chance, the poem Dòng Sông Tím (The Purple River) published on Lâm Xuân Thi’s Facebook drew the attention of the musician.

“Almost immediately, I got inspiration and set music for this pretty quick,” he said.

After the smooth ‘encounter’, Hoài An continues to get similar feeling on other pieces by Thi. However, the striking poem Những Ngày Sài Gòn (The Days in Sài Gòn) is the one that gave him the idea of an album featuring all the songs with the lyrics being poems by Thi.

The song was recorded with the performance of singer Duy Linh. The musician also sent his song to a Vietnamese music centre abroad where they put the composition in their performing repertoire.

Songwriter Hoài An (left) and poet Lâm Xuân Thi at the launch of the album 'Thơ Ca' (Poetical Songs) in HCM City. — Photo courtesy of the songwriter

The album Thơ Ca features 11 songs adapted from the 11 same name poems, and a medley of three songs with the lyrics come from six other poems.

“I feel that I have a connection with every poetic word written by Lâm Xuân Thi, so I set the music for them very quickly. Without that connection and the feeling, no matter how hard you try, I am sure that the result can’t meet your expectation,” songwriter Hoài An said.

He revealed that in an afternoon he had set music for three poems, of which the Em Đi (Without You) took him just 15 minutes to complete.

A line-up of popular singers have joined to perform the songs. 

“Thirteen years is a long time but it’s well worth the waiting until I have a great and memorable music product. I’ve never had this amazing inspiration with poetry before," Hoài An said.

Alongside the physical album, music lovers can scan the QR code printed on the album cover for the digital format of the songs.

Born in 1977, Hoài An has composed more than 500 songs, of which many became hits during 1990-2000. They include Tình Thơ (The Puppy Love), Tình Khúc Vàng (The Golden Song), Nếu Mai Rời Xa (If We Apart Tomorrow). 

He is also the Music Director of high-rating TV game shows Gương Mặt Thân Quen (Your Face Looks Familiar), Vietnam Idol Kids, and Ca Sĩ Giấu Mặt (The Hidden Singer).

Poet Lâm Xuân Thi is the founder of the Poetic Love Fund, which launched in 2009 to support needy and elderly poets living in HCM City and other localities. — VNS