Singer Thái Thanh was famous for many Western-style songs of Việt Nam. She passed away on Tuesday, aged 86. — Photo nld.com.vn
HÀ NỘI — Thái Thanh, whose name is associated with Western-style popular music in Việt Nam, passed away in the US on Tuesday after years of battling illness. She was 86.
“Farewell to singer Thái Thanh – a great legend of Vietnamese music,” wrote Vietnamese director Thanh Hiệp on his personal fanpage.
“She passed away, with millions mourning her timeless and immortal voice. Her personality and talent will live forever.”
Thái Thanh, whose real name was Phạm Thị Băng Thanh, was born in Bạch Mai Village in Hà Nội on August 5, 1934. Her family was steeped in music – her sister is singer Phạm Thị Quang Thái, aka Thái Hằng, her brother-in-law is musician Phạm Duy, her elder brother is musician Phạm Đình Chương and her daughter is singer Ý Lan.
The veteran singer embarked on her musical path at the age of 14, performing in Thăng Long, a family-based band that was established by her siblings. Thanh did not study or have any formal musical education but taught herself with books she ordered from France and the assistance from her elder brother, musician Chương.
She moved to Sài Gòn, presently HCM City, in 1951, with her family and started her solo career. With her gifted light soprano voice, Thanh became famous for love songs and her voice dominated music programmes in Sài Gòn from 1954 to 1975. She also regularly performed at Đêm Màu Hồng (Pink Night), a popular discotheque in the city before 1975.
Her career was associated with many songs by her brother-in-law, musician Phạm Duy, like Dòng Sông Xanh (The Green River), Bà Mẹ Gio Linh (Gio Linh Mother) and Kỷ Niệm (Memory).
Growing up in the north of Việt Nam, her singing was influenced by traditional musical art forms of the land, like quan họ (love duet singing), chèo (popular opera) and chầu văn (spiritual singing). Her unique style impacted many younger singers as well, like Mai Hương, Ánh Tuyết, Quỳnh Giao and even her own daughter, Ý Lan.
In 1985, she emigrated to the US with her family and continued her music career among the Vietnamese community until 2002, when she suffered a brain haemorrhage. — VNS