LookAtVietnam – Le Giang says many people who talked to and sang for her as she traversed the country collecting folk songs would burst into tears
Bursting into song: The book Con Khoc Ngon Lanh.
Ever since the American War ended 34 years ago, Giang and her husband have travelled to every corner of the country to record songs chanted by common people.
They have published several books featuring the folk songs collected during their travels.
In 2000, the poet was awarded the Mai Vang (Golden Apricot) Award for her contribution to the country’s traditional music.
But the couple says love from people is the greatest prize they have received.
Back in their modest house on the top of an apartment block on Nam Ky Khoi Nghia street after long journeys to different parts of the country, Giang began writing down memories of her encounters with the people who opened and shared their treasure of folk songs with her.
Viet Nam is a treasure house of oral folk traditions that have flourished for centuries, like the ho (work shanties) and hat ru (lullaby) in the southern provinces, and quan ho (love duet) in the north. However, not many people are engaged in recording and preserving the thousands of songs that country traditions have created over all these years.
“I write to enjoy life, not as a big task. People think that only famous people write memoirs. Everyone, including a farmer, can write a memoir for their own,” Giang said.
Now the poet and her husband often return to the places, not for collecting fresh material, but to call on people they’d met previously or to light incense for friends who’ve passed away.
The couple are in their seventies now. They spent almost half of their lives researching folk songs in the country and publishing at least a dozen books on the subject.
The books have popularized hundreds of melodies among artists and the general public.
And now, written in a very simple and engaging style, Giang’s memoir about the simple, kind people she and her husband met is sure to touch the hearts of all readers.
VietNamNet/Viet Nam News