Ethnic minority singer promotes local tourism in new music videos

July 31, 2022 - 08:29
Sèn Hoàng Mỹ Lam, a young singer of ethnic minority group of Nùng, has just released a music project titled “Northwestern Region and Me” consisting of three MVs on the northwestern region.

Sèn Hoàng Mỹ Lam, a Nùng ethnic minority singer, has just released a music project titled “Northwestern Region and Me”, made up of three MVs on the northwestern region. Lê Hương chats with her about the new music project and her passion.

Inner Sanctum: I have seen all your newly released MVs. I was impressed with the beautiful nature and young beats of the music. Could you tell me more about the MVs?

Since I won the first prize in the Folk Music category in Sao Mai national music contest 2017, I have consistently followed this music genre and actively publicized my homeland through various music products.

Sèn Hoàng Mỹ Lam has been considered a potential pop singer. Photo courtesy of the singer

“Northwestern Region and Me” project includes songs titled Tây Bắc Thả Chiều vào Tranh (Northwestern Region Afternoon in a Painting) by composer Hồ Trọng Tuấn, deputy rector of the Military Culture and Arts College, Thanh Xuân của Ban Mai (The Youth of Early Morning) by Phạm Việt Tuân, and Có Em Luôn Chờ Anh (I’m Always Waiting for You) by Phạm Hồng Nhung.

I want the folk music genre to be blended with contemporary breath through creations by young people. That’s why in these MVs, folk music is mixed with rap. Natural landscapes of the northwest region appear in the MVs, aiming to promote images of the region and local tourism.

To make these MVs, our team has reached the remotest villages of remote Y Tý Commune in Lào Cai District. We have walked and carried heavy equipment on local paths. Sometimes our bus was stuck on the muddy path. We spent nearly an hour there before being able to move forward. Thanks to our all efforts, we have recorded stunningly beautiful pristine landscapes of the northwestern mountains.

Audiences will make a virtual tour online to see a sea of clouds in Y Tý, lush terraced rice fields and mesmerising rows on rows of mountains.

In the background of spectacular landscapes, colourful traditional costumes of local ethnic groups emerge. My project’s costume specialist Hà Trung has introduced traditional costumes of 25 ethnic groups in Lào Cai.

Costumes worn by the extras in MVs are original, while the ones I donned are modified designs based on distinctive local costumes.

Composer Phạm Việt Tuân is responsible for mixing sounds, which has tactfully mixed sounds of violin, guitar and traditional instruments like bamboo flutes and gourd lute. Especially in the song Thanh Xuân của Ban Mai, he added a part of rap and dancing by rapper RamC to bring along a youthful atmosphere for the MV.

The third MV, Có Em Luôn Chờ Anh, is a young singer on romantic love suitable to modern youth. The MV was made by three very young people, namely Sèn Mỹ Đan Khanh (my smaller sister), Công Thắng and Nguyễn Tiến Vĩ, who co-operated to direct a spontaneous MV with full of living power.

We have done the project in six months. I hope the audience will feel the simple, friendly nature and profound lyrics on the love for landscapes and people of the northwestern region and the modern and traditional music features.

Inner Sanctum: You are an ethnic. You have performed many songs about local nature and ethnic groups. Do you find any advantages or obstacles while fulfilling your work?

I feel everything natural and comfortable. I feel myself having enough quality to express the songs. I haven’t found any obstacles at all.

Inner Sanctum: Could you tell me about yourself and your way to music.

I was born into a farmer's family. My dad is a Nùng ethnic, while my mom is of mixed Tày and Dáy origin. My mom used to sing traditional lullabies and folk songs of the Tày and Dáy. My grandfather can play the traditional gourd lute and flute. I have been inspired much by them.

There have been no vocal music classes in my hometown, Lào Cai. So after graduating from secondary school, I started to follow my music passion. I took an entrance exam to the Việt Bắc Culture and Arts College and passed with distinction. I continued to do a BA at the Vocal Music Faculty at the Military University of Culture & Arts, and graduated with excellent results.

The project features the pristine nature of the northwestern region. Photo courtesy of the singer

I have had more difficulties than my colleagues as I started learning music rather late. Moreover, I faced many challenges moving from the mountainous area to learning in the city. I have made more effort than other peers. I have also been supported much by my family and colleagues.

Then in 2017, I competed in the Sao Mai Singing Contest and won in the folk music category.

One year later, I competed in Người Hát Tình Ca (Love Song Singer) bolero song contest in HCM City and won the first prize, too.

Inner Sanctum: Do you have any advice for young people with a passion for music, especially this year’s Sao Mai Singing Contest, which has just been kicked off after the pandemic?

I wish them good health and energy to overcome challenges. My newly released project is not only a gift to my beloved homeland but also my encouragement to competitors in this year’s singing contest. I hope they will always be themselves and express the best that they have to shine on stage.

For young people loving music, they should set their targets. Then they will find a way to reach the targets.

Inner Sanctum: Please tell me your plan later this year.

I am working on more music products to release this Tết (Lunar New Year). I will continue to try other genres of music to explore myself and find my strong points. I think the most challenging task in following the music path is that a singer should create their own personal features. VNS

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