This post is the only one in the series without a YouTube video. In fact, here is the only online link to the recording that I could find, and the upload is hardly perfect. It’s true that I’d like to throw in one or two obscure songs in a list of mostly well-known tunes. Even there I was quite surprised at the Internet neglect of this song.
December 1, 2016: The link above still works, but I’ve just uploaded the song on YouTube and it has better audio quality.
It is not easy at all to choose a couple of songs from Trịnh Công Sơn for any list of ten songs about the Vietnam War. The first of his five albums in the Sing for the Vietnamese Country series – Hát Cho Quê Hương Việt Nam – is a masterpiece that must be listened from top to bottom. It is not a surprise that both of my selections come from that album.
Hãy Sống Giùm Tôi – Live for Me or Please Live For Me – is perhaps the simplest composition in the entire album: musically, perhaps; linguistically, definitely. It took me, what, all of six or seven minutes to translate the lyrics – half of the time on two or three lines.
To reiterate a point from the last post, nationalism appears here and there in South Vietnamese music, not in one place. Strong arguments will necessarily come from a broad survey of songs, not a few. For now, however, I will zoom in on just one song in the hope of illustrating certain aspects of nationalism in the Republican South.
What is Ba Lần Mẹ Khóc, whose title I have Englished as Thrice Mother Wept, opting for old-style “thrice” over “three times” in order to cut down on syllables? Like Tuổi Trẻ Chúng Tôi, it was recorded only once in South Vietnam. KEEP READING!