He is a well-known and beloved song writer with familiar songs such as "Tinh ta bien bac dong xanh," "Pho bien tinh anh," "Tieng da tieng thuong," "Tinh nguoi huong lua," "Huyen thoai trang Nhat Le," "Thanh Hue chung minh thuong," and "Nho Ngu Binh," among others.
|The book cover of Hoang Song Huong’s Songs
Along with his homeland in Quang Binh, the land and people of Hue have become a destined love, a rich source of inspiration deeply embedded in his music writing career. The story began with the personal life of the musician’s father, who was skilled in playing the dan bau and dan nhi. He named his son after the famous "Song Huong" (Huong River), a poetic river, and from then on, the Huong River flowed throughout his life.
The recently released collection of Hoang Song Huong's songs consists of 90 songs (selected from over 150), including 20 songs about Hue. These include the songs "Tieng da tieng thuong," "Tinh ta bien bac dong xanh," and "Pho bien tinh anh," which together formed a song cluster that earned him the State Prize in Literature and Arts in 2017. This collection vividly demonstrates the song writer's deep and lively love for Hue.
Music researchers and experts have observed that Hoang Song Huong's music is rich in the folk traditions of Central Vietnam and Binh-Tri-Thien. Many of his songs are infused with a strong sense of folk poetry, a profound love for the homeland, and the nation. They also note that the lyrics in his songs are carefully selected and imbued with poetic qualities. These characteristics are consistently evident in his song writing, both in general and, specifically, in the songs about Hue.
Behind these songs about Hue lie stories that few know. His first song about Hue, "Song Song Huong" (The Huong River's Waves), was written in 1968 when he was studying at the Hanoi Conservatory.
During that time, the North was heavily engaged in the devastating war, supporting the South with the spirit of "no grain shortage, no soldier shortage" to aid their fellow countrymen.
From afar, Hoang Song Huong heard news about Hue and the South simultaneously rising up and launching attacks, causing chaos in the enemy's military posts and the government, shaking both the urban and rural areas. Although he had never been to Hue, he was inspired by the stories told by his father and friends from Hue. This inspiration led to the creation of "Song Song Huong" with lyrics like, “Dậy sóng sông Hương dâng lên rồi… / Dìm những đau thương bao chồng chất núi Ngự Bình / Sen Tịnh Tâm thắm tươi màu rực nắng / Nhịp cầu Tràng Tiền nối bến Sông Hương / Rợp màu cờ áo trắng sông thơ” ("The Huong River's waves have risen.../ Submerging countless sorrows upon Ngu Binh Mountain / Tinh Tam lotus flowers shines under the sun / Trang Tien Bridge connecting the banks of the Huong River / Bright colors of white shirts and poetic river.")
The next song, "Thanh Hue chung minh thuong" (Hue, the City We Love), was written when he was living in the heart of Hue, experiencing the unique and charming aspects of the city. The heartfelt lyrics are a testament to his love for Hue. “Bước êm nhẹ trên thành phố Huế / Âm hưởng nào dịu mát lòng anh / Nón nghiêng nghiêng nụ cười gợi nắng / Áo trắng về đâu cho anh được về cùng… Thành phố mộng mơ đẹp những vần thơ / Câu hò Hương Giang ngọt ngào sâu thẳm”. ("Strolling gently in Hue City / What gentle melody soothes my heart / Conical hats tilting, smiles invoking sunshine / Where are you heading towards, may I accompany you… A dreamy city, beautiful verses unfold / The sweet and deep melodies of Huong River’s songs.")
Furthermore, when he encountered the people of Hue, especially the way the Hue women would say "da, thua," he was captivated. Lyrics like “Nghe tiếng dạ em ngọt ngào dịu mát trong anh / Tiếng mời chào nghe ngọt ngào xứ Huế /… lời nói em ướt làn môi / từ trong tiếng dạ đã vừa lòng nhau” (Tiếng dạ - Tiếng thương) … ("Hearing your gentle ‘da’ sweetly soothes me / The inviting words sound sweet in the land of Hue... your words make your lips moist, from within the ‘da’ you have matched my heart" are found in songs like "Tieng da - Tieng thuong" The Sound of ‘Da’ - The Sound of Love)
Hoang Song Huong and his family lived in Hue for 16 years, from 1976 to 1992. During this time, the land and people of Hue became deeply ingrained in his life. However, an unexpected departure from Hue left him saying, “Ngự Bình, Ngự Bình nơi ấy tôi đã sâu nặng mối tình / Bên gốc thông xanh nhớ lời ước hẹn / Kỷ niệm một thời chan chứa đời tôi / Ngự Bình ơi, sao yêu đến thế / Răng tôi xa Huế mà chi rứa người” (ca khúc Nhớ Ngự Bình) …("Ngu Binh, Ngu Binh, where I deeply cherished the affection / Beneath the green pine tree, I remember our promise / Memories of a time that enriched my life / Oh, Ngu Binh, why do I love you so much / Though I'm far from Hue, my heart remains with you" from the song "Nho Ngu Binh" – Missing Ngu Binh).
Hue has given Hoang Song Huong beautiful songs that have created lasting connections with the public. In turn, his songs have enriched the cultural heritage of Hue and have had a profound impact on the spiritual life of the homeland and the nation.