cây lúa

on the way walking to office in this suddenly cold weather, i somehow had tons of vietnamese tunes in my head. growing up under communist _and_ catholic settings, i tend to associate these two together. and like many of the church songs and jesus, which i can now recite, there are plenty praising Ho Chi Minh which we sisters now sing out loud for fun at family gatherings or to put the children to sleep :-D. But luckily not all songs we learned was about hochiminh or communist party. The majority is actually about the simple beautiful things, the people, the mountains, the sea, the trees, birds, etc. The title here refers to the individual rice plant, and we have a song dedicated solely to cây lúa, to show appreciation and respect for it.  The song starts with “Tôi hát bài ca ngợi ca cây lúa, và người trồng lúa cho quê hương” (i sing a song praising the rice plant, and the rice farmers who labor for the nation)

Like many of the songs, the message is pure and simple. This one: appreciate and respect what feeds us the people. What’s even nicer is the subtle message to appreciate sweet potatoes and corn (the country was so poor that people couldn’t afford rice. the cheaper things were corn and bad quality sweet potatoes which grew everywhere). very rough translation by yours truly here:

Được mùa lúa thóc chớ phụ ngô khoai,
ăn quả ngọt ngon nhớ người vun trồng.

“with a good rice harvest, do not abandon the corn and sweet potatoes,
eating sweet fruits, do not forget the laborers.”

And again, like many songs, it ends on a positive note, which is needed for people during this extremely harsh period: “Đường lớn đã mở đi tới tương lai, Ngày mai đang bắt đầu từ ngày hôm nay” (the road to the future is opening up, tomorrow begins today.)

Another song i really love is “tiếng đàn bầu”, which is about what sound of one of the only 2 authentic vietnamese musical instruments means.  A word of warning. As in many songs composed at the time after the Vietnam War, it seems the requirement is to praise hochiminh and communist party at least 5-7 times in each song. Some writers were more subtle, this one not. the song is beautifully describing the poeple, the mood, the instrument, then suddenly, there will be lines “vivre hochiminh”. I find it funny, neither bothersome nor distracting me from hearing the essence. many people however might raise red flags and protest (the poor smorgy was forced to listen to this once in my car, and by the 4th hochiminh, she said enough.)

Tiếng đàn bầu thủơ xưa,
Cung thương kiều nức nở,
Than mình chẳng tự do,
Bi ai dân mất nước,
Não nuột từng đường tơ,

So, just a couple more links, a song appreciating the coconut and bamboo trees (this one also uses the other of the 2 authentic vietnamese musical instruments, đàn tranh)

Mỗi lúc đi xa dừa ơi ta nhớ lắm nghe
Vườn trái trái xum xuê, biển khơi tôm cá đầy ghe
Nhớ con sông dài Hàm Luông bến ta quen ghé
Lại nhớ tóc ai dài còn mang dáng đứng Bến Tre

describing the lives and lanscape of Hanoi (bewared of communist reference…)

Ôi nhớ Hồ Gươm xanh thắm
Nơi Tháp Rùa nghiêng soi bóng
Thành cũ Thăng Long hồn nước non thiêng
Còn lắng đâu đây dấu xưa oai hùng
Hà Nội ơi

and onto the bird in the sky…
I could go on. a vietnamese playlist for friday it is 🙂

(I might come back or get little sister to translate some of the things i quote here…)


About thả diều
writing-challenged opera-addict

One Response to cây lúa

  1. chau says:

    ho^`n nha.c le^n nhu* so’ng trie^`u eh…
    your beloved sis sang her heart out to the last song during a singing contest and landed nowhere near the top 10 ;;)

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