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VietNamNews

Singer returns home to grace local stages

Update: August, 02/2014 - 09:15
Long awaited: Overseas singer Khanh Ly will perform her hit songs by late composer Trinh Cong Son at her live show tonight. — Photo laodong.com.vn
HA NOI (VNS)— Following her first show in Ha Noi in May since she left the country in 1975, notable singer Khanh Ly is back for another live show in the city tonight.

Ly, whose career is closely connected with songs by one of Viet Nam's most beloved songwriters, Trinh Cong Son, has been praised as the best performer of Son's songs.

In the live show at the My Dinh National Convention Hall, the 69-year-old singer will perform her greatest hits as well as some pieces from Son's anti-war song collection entitled Da Vang (Yellow Skin).

She will also sing a few songs from the collection Bai Khong Ten (Untitled) by famous composer Vu Thanh An.

Songstresses Le Thu and Khanh Ha, singing heartthrob Quang Dung along with veteran composer Nguyen Anh 9 will be special guests of the live show tonight.

Born into a traditional family in Ha Noi, she was named Nguyen Thi Le Mai and stepped onto the stage to sing at the age of nine.

Moving to the South with her family in 1956, Mai won her first-ever prize in a children's singing contest the same year with a song by Pham Duy, who, along with Son and Van Cao, have been considered three outstanding figures of modern (non-classical) Vietnamese music.

At 17, her career had just begun when she made her debut at a music club in Sai Gon. She took the stage name Khanh Ly from this point onwards.

In 1964, she met Son, at that time a young composer, in Da Lat and they quickly became friends. Fascinated by her seductive voice, Son asked her to accompany him on his performances to Sai Gon but she turned down his request.

The legacy of Ly and Son started few years later, when the singer came back to Sai Gon in 1967. In the next few decades, they sang together at several venues, including on the steps of Van Khoa University in Sai Gon, to spread Son's anti-war lyrics in the Yellow-Skin Songs collection.

Their plea for peace brought them unexpected fame. From the university campuses, to the unknown farm lands, Ly was heard, known, and hailed as the "Barefoot Queen".

Up until she migrated to the US in 1975, Ly achieved tremendous fame around the world. She performed in the US and Canada.

She also took the stage at the Osaka Fair in Japan at an invitation from Nippon Columbia recording company. Here, she also recorded an album featuring Son's songs, Diem Xua (Old Flame) and Ca Dao Me (The Mother's Folk Melody), sung in both Vietnamese and Japanese. After its release, the record became a chart topper in Japan and remained there for several decades. Ly was the first Vietnamese singer to achieve international fame.

Since Ly left Viet Nam for the US in 1975, she returned home twice, but did not perform.

After getting permission to sing in Viet Nam in September 2012, Ly just had her first performance in the country in May.

It took place at the same venue where she is performing tonight. The show in May was greeted warmly by her fans.

Following tonight's show in Ha Noi, the singer will have another live performance in Da Nang on August 8. — VNS


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