HÀ NỘI - Singer Hà Lê has released his debut album featuring iconic songs by late famous composer Trịnh Công Sơn, also dubbed the "Bob Dylan of Việt Nam".
Cover of the album Ở Trọ (Temporary Stay) by Hà Lê. The singer has released his debut album Ở Trọ, featuring most iconic songs by late famous composer Trịnh Công Sơn. –Photo courtesy of the artist
Entitled Ở Trọ (Temporary Stay), the album is part of the project Trịnh Contemporary the singer launched in early 2019, aiming to bring a breath of fresh air to the music of the great composer with a modern twist including contemporary dance and rap.
The seven-song album begins with the song Ở Trọ, through which the singer believes he has found a great connection between himself and Trịnh's music.
According to Hà Lê, who before becoming a singer was known in the Vietnamese underground music community as a leading rapper, dancer and choreographer, he was searching for a way to present and develop his own music style.
“I then finally found Trịnh's music, in which I feel like I have found myself. His songs seem to tell my inner thoughts. Whenever I sing his songs, I fell that I'm telling my own stories.
“Through Ở Trọ, I have understood better the message that the composer wanted to present. Everyone living in this world will die someday, so during that limited time of living, we need to respect every moment that we are living for. So we need to be better people, we need to experience life more and give to others more. That’s why I want to name the album after this song. The album so far is the best that we can offer to people,” said Hà Lê.
"I come to Trịnh's music as a destiny, rather from a call. The freedom of music is what people will see most clearly in the Trịnh Contemporary project," he said.
The album also includes three songs, Diễm Xưa (Diễm, My Cherished Old Flame), Mưa Hồng (Pink Rain), and Biển Nhớ (Sea of Memory), for which music videos were introduced last year under the project.
Combined a modern twist of R&B, world music, and contemporary dance, the videos have shown the creative effort of Hà Lê to bring a new and fresh appearance to Trịnh Công Sơn’s immortal melodies while still maintaining the pureness of lyrics.
Hà Lê’s hip-hop style is presented clearly in Nhớ Mùa Thu Hà Nội (Missing the Hà Nội Autumn) when he raps. The city's signature sounds of the cries of street vendors can also be heard in this song.
“Every song in the album has its 'distinctive colour', from EDM to reggae. The album is a calming, relaxing music experience like a rosy shower pouring on hot summer days," the singer said.
Other songs on the album include Tuối Đá Buồn (Stone Knows Sorrows) and Huế - Sài Gòn – Hà Nội.
Songwriter and music producer Phạm Hải Âu said he highly appreciates the album's quality.
“The album offers a fresh experience for Trịnh Công Sơn’s old fans. Moreover, the album has been remixed in a contemporary arrangement, which can help young people get closer and understand the music legacy of one of Viet Nam's greatest composer,” Âu said.
US Billboard has praised Hà Lê's determination of putting Vietnamese music on the world map. – Photo courtesy of the artist
Earlier, in an article in September 2019 about Hà Lê’s Trịnh project, US magazine Billboard has praised his determination for putting Vietnamese music on the world map.
It wrote: “He dedicated his heart and soul to this project, which was not only a hard one to accomplish, but also one for him to deliver his vision and passion to the world, while at the same time, determined to change the minds of naysayers.”
Born in 1984, Hà Lê is a financial mathematics graduate of Nottingham Trent University in the UK. Having a great interest in hip hop, together with two other friends, Hà Lê formed a hip hop dance group, which then turned into a company specialising in hip hop teaching and performing.
After six years studying and working in the UK, he returned to Việt Nam in 2008. Alongside being one of the judges of high-rating game shows in Việt Nam such as So You Think You Can Dance and RingMasterz, the singer also organises Hiphop Battle Ground. To become a singer, Hà Lê enrolled in an academy to "re-learn" everything related to music.
His Ở Trọ full album is available on several online music platforms including Spotify and iTunes. VNS