Saigon Supersound Vol​.​1

by Various Artists

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  • Record/Vinyl

    Gatefold incl. liner-notes, printed inner sleeves incl. lyrics in Vietnamese & English

    Includes digital pre-order of Saigon Supersound Vol.1. You get 5 tracks now (streaming via the free Bandcamp app and also available as a high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more), plus the complete album the moment it's released.
    digital album releases May 6, 2017
    item ships out on or around May 5, 2017

     €20 EUR

     

  • Compact Disc (CD)

    booklet with full liner-notes & lyrics in Vietnamese & English

    Includes digital pre-order of Saigon Supersound Vol.1. You get 5 tracks now (streaming via the free Bandcamp app and also available as a high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more), plus the complete album the moment it's released.
    digital album releases May 6, 2017
    item ships out on or around May 5, 2017

     €10 EUR

     

  • Pre-order of Saigon Supersound Vol.1. You get 5 tracks now (streaming via the free Bandcamp app and also available as a high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more), plus the complete album the moment it's released.

    includes pdf of booklet with full liner-notes & lyrics in Vietnamese & English in very good resolution. As well as artwork jpg´s of the front and back cover with & without the banderole
    releases May 6, 2017

     €9 EUR  or more

     

1.
2.
Hùng Cường & Mai Lệ Huyền - Sống Cho Nhau
3.
Duy Quang & Thái Hiền - Mộng Về Quê
4.
Thanh Vũ - Nếu Mình Còn Yêu Nhau
5.
Connie Kim - Lý Luận Tình Yêu
6.
Hòa tấu - Phố Đêm
7.
Phượng Mai - Mùa Xuân Gửi Em
8.
9.
Kim Loan - Căn Nhà Ngoại Ô
10.
Thanh Thuý, Văn Thanh, Hoàng Liêm, Thanh Mai - Đoàn Người Lữ Thứ
11.
12.
Thanh Lan, Châu Hà, Thanh Mai - Hát Mừng Xuân
13.
14.
Vân Sơn & Thùy Dung - Chọn Mặt Gửi Vàng
15.
Hoàng Oanh - Mùa Gặt Mới
16.
Thanh Lan - Tình Đêm Liên Hoan
17.
Phương Dung - Vòng Tay Giữ Trọn Ân Tình
18.

about

LINERNOTES:

Saigon Super Sound is the story of a musical era that was almost lost. The selection of tracks is limited to the period between 1965 and 1975, the so-called “Golden Era” in the South ofVietnam, where – under difficult circumstances – a lively pop culture had developed.

The music of Vietnam in the sixties was shaped by three currents: Nhạc đỏ (“red music” or communist revolutionary music) had developed around the beginning of the 20th century in opposition to the French colonization of Indochina. It usually promoted independence, socialism and anti-capitalism in its lyrics and was the dominant genre in the communist North. These were mostly heroic songs celebrating the men and women who left their families to bravely fight against the French and, soon enough, also the US Army.

This collection focuses on the South, where under “imported” western influence a new kind of pop and rock music had developed: Nhạc Vàng (“yellow music” or “golden music”), Nhạc Trẻ (“young music”). Nhạc Vàng are poetic, often sentimental and sad love songs (Tình Khúc) as well as simple, easily accessible compositions which praised the beauty of the homeland (Quê hương). This genre had also developed since the 1920’s under French colonial influence, namely the chanson that was much appreciated by the growing Vietnamese bourgeoisie. Latin rhythms and dances such as the Bolero, the Rumba, Tango and Cha Cha Cha as well as Slow Rock were also integrated into the standard repertoire. Just a year ago I saw a large group of younger and older people dancing Tango at night, when Nguyễn Huệ street is converted into a pedestrian zone. When the Americans entered the war, they also brought rock- ́n’-roll and soul music to Vietnam which became quite influential for local artists. “Young music” (Nhạc Trẻ) was performed by newly formed bands like Dew Drop, The Dreamers, CBS Band and The Strawberry Four. There were all female bands too, such as the Blue Stars (of whom, unfortunately, no usable recordings have survived) who performed at the G.I. Clubs. They covered American rock and soul hits, translating or simply making up new lyrics in Vietnamese. Very few of these were even recorded, but many popular singers – including Hùng Cường, Mai Lệ Huyền and Carol Kim – added “imported” styles like Twist, Soul, Agogo, Surf and Mashed Potatoes to their repertoire of popular ballads.

The third, very popular form was Cải Lương, best translated into “theater music” in which pieces of music alternate with spoken word passages to form a kind of radio play. The last title of this collection, “7 câu vọng cổ chúc Tết“ gives you an idea of this genre. Its musical structure is based on a Vietnamese composition from the early 20th century, the Vọng Cổ which was (and is) very popular in Cải Lương as well as in Vietnamese chamber music.

In the 1950’s, a lively music scene began to develop in the South, mostly in and around Saigon: In addition to various nightclubs and salon de thé ́s, music labels like Sóng Nhạc, Việt Nam, Dư Âm, Nhạc Ngày Xanh, Sơn Ca, Capitol and Continental were churning out a multitude of releases, mostly on 7“ vinyl singles. These were often made from colored vinyl: yellow and red or brown and sometimes multi-colored, when the raw material became scarce during wartimes. Such a record usually featured up to four songs, often by different artists and thus can be seen as a kind of mini compilation. Individual artist albums were the exception rather than the rule. Often only one of the featured artists was visually represented on the cover. The bands were confined to the background, although they really were the backbone and constant of the entire scene. This became even more obvious with the rise of reel to reel tape recordings from the early seventies onward. From now on, most recordings were released on tape or on Compact Cassettes, and rarely on vinyl. Tape series like Song Ngọc (1-4), Trường Hải (1-14) and Shotguns were highly successful, the latter producing over 30 volumes by 1975. Shotguns was actually not a label in the classic sense, but probably the most popular “backing band“. The Shotguns played the clubs of Saigon, in front of (South Vietnamese) soldiers as well as civilians, featuring nearly all the popular singers of the era. Like the earlier vinyl singles, the tape series were also mostly compilations, not unlike the Motown principle, employing one and the same backing band for different featured artists. Well-known and popular compositions were often recorded in various versions, featuring different singers. Even the 20 volumes of the tape series “Thanh Thuý” – named after and produced by the eponymous singer – consists of compilations. The individual releases were often based on a theme... “songs for spring“ (xuân), “love songs“ (tình ca), “dance music” (nhạc khiêu vũ) or they included songs by a certain composer. The “Sơn Ca“ series constitutes the notable exception to the rule, focusing on indivdual artists in each of its eleven volumes. It also represents a more discerning approach – both musically and with regards to sound quality. The song “Diễm Xưa“ was originally recorded for the “Sơn Ca” series. It was performed by Khánh Ly and written by Trịnh Công Sơn. He is often referred to as the “Vietnamese Bob Dylan“ and – along with Phạm Duy – is seen as one of the most important composers of the South. His poetic folk tunes were anti-war songs, unlike those of many other composers who often included a pro-war message in their songs. For me personally, this is one of the strongest and most expressive pieces on Saigon Super Sound, not least because of Khánh Ly’s inimitable voice. Like the “red music” (Nhạc đỏ) of the North, the South also used music, literature and film to encourage and entertain the troops as well as tools for propaganda. The Americans ran the program under the acronym PSYOP (“psychological operations”). Of the many popular singer and songwriters who participated in the program, most left the country at the end of the war to avoid persecution.

This exodus in April 1975 meant nothing less than the end of the South Vietnamese music industry. The remaining bits and pieces were seen as “decadent” by the communists, were disgraced and maginalized and ultimately disappeared from everyday life. Records surviving from this era are often in a sad and pitiful state, heavily scratched and full of dust so deeply engrained in the grooves as to render them virtually unplayable. Even more so, since the paper sleeves were mostly burnt or recycled in the early 1980’s. Due to the lack of paper, many vinyl records were left unprotectd in dusty corners. The few records surviving in reasonably good shape are in the hands of a small group of collectors and protected like treasures. Those recordings which were originally released on tape are often more easily accessible and in better shape. To this day, the socialist government is not interested in an archival and discographical appraisal, since it had abolished “yellow music” immediately after reunification. Master tapes are non-existent. The fear that these songs might have a corrosive effect on the people of South Vietnam was just too deep-seated. “It could bring back feelings to the people” was the warning message I heard when I tried to get some background information for this project from official sources. The promotion of immoral attitudes and behavior was another aspect disturbing the new authorities, and western influences did not fit into their socialist view of the postwar world.

Nevertheless, the songs persist. Particularly among the many Vietnamese who fled their homeland these songs became classics or even hymns that were re-recorded again and again in the diaspora. At the same time – and I found this remarkable – I also met fans and collectors of “yellow music” in the North. Unlike the “red music” of the North, the music of South Vietnam in all its simplicity speaks directly to the hearts and souls of people in the city as well as in the countryside. In recent years, the old songs are finding their way back into the awareness of more and more Vietnamese, although a number of songs can still not be performed publicly. Thousands of compositions are effectively “illegal” to this day. But thanks to the internet and passionate collectors, many of these songs are now available either on Youtube or on Vietnamese websites Even some of the artists who fled right after reunification in 1975 have since returned to Vietnam or have received official permission to perform live. This development created some controversy. Within the exiled Vietnamese community, where many believe that exiled artists who play concerts in Vietnam authorized by the socialist government are actually committing an act of treason. Censorship is still omnipresent, and certain “songs of praise” commending the pre- 1975 South Vietnamese government are still an absolute “no-go”. Even today, the lyrics for each and every new song must be authorized by the ministry of culture and information before it can be recorded or performed publicly.

The selection of tracks for this compilation is a subjective sample of popular music in that era, informed – of course – by personal likes and influences. This means, for example, that I was interested in latin, rock and soul-flavored pieces which clearly show elements of fusion with western popular music.

My first direct encounter with Vietnam dates back to the year 2005. Since then, I have been fascinated by the beauty of this country and the diversity of its culture and history. When I moved to Ho-Chi-Minh City – as Saigon is officially called since reunification – for a year in 2011/12, I first discovered the music of the pre-war era. In the following years I began to research and collect more seriously, I bought vinyl singles from around the world, often several copies of the same release, just to restore or rather “rebuild” one good recording from several sources. With the help of friends in Vietnam I was able to navigate the almost impenetrable jungle of music websites. Thanks to their invaluable support and translation assistance, I came into contact with several collectors who either gave me digitalized recordings or let me record directly from their old reel to reel tapes. The best recordings from this treasure hunt were then retouched, refined and remastered in the studio for this release. And yes... a few gems remain in stock waiting to be rediscovered. I want to express my special thanks to Kim Loan who emigrated to Germany and who I met last summer. Hers is the beautiful photo which graces the cover.

credits

releases May 6, 2017

Concept, Compiled, Liner notes & Executive Producer: Jan Hagenkötter Research: Jan Hagenkötter, Antoine “Datodeo“ Toussaint, Mai Diệu Linh Lyrics Translation: Đỗ Trần Nhậ
Liner notes Translation: Christian Arndt
Art Direction & Design: Rafael Jiménez Heckman
Audio Restauration & Mastering: Gyso Hilger at Nektarium TonStudio Photo Credits: (Cover) Kim Loan, (Backside) Robert E. ́Gene ́ Marshall
Collection, The Vietnam Center and Archive, Texas Tech University, USA Produced: 2017 INFRACom! / Jan Hagenkötter www.saigonsupersound.com / www.infracom.de

Thanks to the following wonderful people & friends who supported this project & helped to make it happen:
Phượng Đoan, Antoine “Datodeo“ Toussaint, Mai Diệu Linh, Edge Pamute and the dOSe family,Kim Loan, Linda Mai Phung, Thao Nguyễn, Võ Trúc Khuyên, Trần Nhật Minh, Jase Nguyễn, Minh-Anh “Maqman“ Quach, Khoa Phạm & the Old Fashioned Barber Shop Crew, Leo and Lena Inowlocki, Karim Deriouche, Gyso Hilger, Rafael Jiménez Heckman, Dan Bimong, Dan Lo & the Observatory SGN, Daniel W. Best, Christian Arndt, Gerhard & Thanh-Lê Vothi-Riemann, Fred Wissink

This production is inspired & dedicated to my lovely daughters Emi Liên and Anh-Linh. / Jan Hagenkötter

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INFRACom! Frankfurt Am Main, Germany

The label INFRACom! was founded in 1992. In the last two decades INFRACom! has released over 160 productions.
INFRACom! is open-minded in spirit and taste. A label dedicated to the artist and not to one sole style.

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Track Name: Carol Kim - Tình Ta Như Lửa Đơm Hoa
Tình Ta Như Lửa Đơm Hoa

Kìa một đàn cò trắng bay ngang bờ đê ,
Kìa ở ngoài đồng lúa đôi trâu cày bừa
Và ruộng nhà thì có tay anh và em.
Hò điệu hò ngày mới cho duyên càng bền.

Kìa ở ngoài rừng núi lũ chim lả lơi ,
Kìa ở ngoài bờ suối dáng nai hiền hòa.
Và vườn nhà nở thắm trên đôi cành hoa
Tình của mình rực rỡ như mùa đơm hoa.

Ơi hỡi chàng,
Ơi hỡi nàng.
Tình của mình giờ đây như lúa còn tươi.
Tình của mình đẹp như hoa gấm ngày mai.
Ơi hỡi chàng,
Ơi hỡi nàng.
Mùa đang tươi,
Đời đang vui.
Tình thắm trên bờ môi.

Kìa kìa từng làn khói uấn quanh mái nhà tranh.
Bầu trời vừa đỏ ối bóng trâu về chuồng.
Bầy gà nhà rùi rắt nhau trên bờ ao ,
Bầy vịt trời đập cánh đưa nhau về nguồn.

Kìa ở ngoài bờ suối bóng trăng vừa lên.
Kìa vừa tàn lửa bếp bữa cơm ngọt ngào.
Ngoài đầu hè điệu sáo vi vu thoảng xa.
Tình của mình rực rỡ như mùa đơm hoa.

---english translation---

Our Love Is Blooming Rice

There across the levee fly a flock of white storks,
There in the rice field plow a pair of buffaloes
And there you and me take care of our home,
Singing the folk song for a new day dedicated to our deep love.

There in the jungles flirt the birds
There at the stream stand the deer.
And there in our garden bloom the flowers
And our love shines bright like the blooming spring.

Oh, young lad,
Oh, young lady,
Our love is now like fresh rice.
Our love is beautiful just like brocade
Oh, young lad,
Oh, young lady,
The harvest season is cheerful
And life is joyful,
And love is in the passionate kisses.

There over the thatched roof is the winding smoke
The sky turns red imprinted with shadows of the buffaloes returning home
A flock of chickens gather near the pond,
And a flock of mallards flap their wings flying back to their home

There at the stream rises the moon.
There are ash and ember, there is the heart-warming meal.
There is the melody of the flute
Our love shines bright like the blooming spring.
Track Name: Khánh Ly - Diễm Xưa
Mưa vẫn mưa bay, trên tầng tháp cổ,
Dài tay em mấy thuở mắt xanh xao,
Nghe lá thu mưa reo mòn gót nhỏ.
Ðường dài hun hút cho mắt thêm sâu.

Mưa vẫn hay mưa, trên hàng lá nhỏ.
Buổi chiều ngồi ngóng những chuyến mưa qua.
Trên bước chân em, âm thầm lá đổ,
Chợt hồn xanh buốt cho mình xót xa.

Chiều nay còn mưa sao em không lại?
Nhớ mãi trong cơn đau vùi.
Làm sao có nhau, hằn lên nỗi đau,
Bước chân em xin về mau.

Mưa vẫn hay mưa, cho đời biển động.
Làm sao em nhớ những vết chim di.
Xin hãy cho mưa qua miền đất rộng,
Ðể người phiêu lãng quên mình lãng du.

Mưa vẫn hay mưa, cho đời biển động.
Làm sao em biết bia đá không đau
Xin hãy cho mưa qua miền đất rộng,
Ngày sau sỏi đá cũng cần có nhau

---english translation---

Diem* of the old day

The rain is still falling from the top of the old chapel,
I remember your long arm, and your pale eyes,
I hear the rustle of autumn leaves,
The drops of rain wearing out your steps,
Endless winding path plunging into your abysmal eyes.
 
The rain is still falling on the row of fragile leaves,
Everyday, I languish the rain,
The leaves fall upon your steps, in their sombre silence,
My soul suddenly gets cold and bitter.
 
Tonight, it's still raining, why didn’t you come?
Keeping our pains buried in our hearts
The traces of our sufferings are forever scars
Of not being able to be together
Please hurry your steps and come back.
 
Rain, it is still raining and life feels like a rough sea,
How can you remember the footprints of the di** birds?
I pray the rain to pass through areas of great plains,
For the wanderer to forget his wandering

Rain is still raining and life feels like a rough sea,
How can you know that stone steles don’t suffer?
I pray the rain to pass through areas of great plains
Even stones and pebbles will need each other in the end


*Diem: Trinh Cong Son’s muse, her name is Diem. “Diễm” is also in “sự kiều diễm” which means “grace” or “beauty”. Trinh Cong Son loves Diem for her beauty and described her as beautiful as the name given to her.

** di bird: a kind of bird in Nha Trang (Viet Nam) who always play with the waves in the sea. Trinh Cong Son compares human with these di birds, playing in life. Di birds are also the image of the uncertainty, something hard to control, vulnerable just like love and the existence of human in this life.
Track Name: Kiều Oanh - Đêm Cuối Cùng
Đêm Cuối Cùng

Còn đêm nay
Đêm cuối cùng
Rồi ngày mai
Xa cuối trời

Ôi tiếng đàn lâng lâng tiếng tình tang
Ôi tiếng hò mênh mang giữa chiều vàng
Ôi ta còn bâng khuâng khúc biệt ly, nước mắt rơi trong lòng

Còn đêm nay
Đêm cuối cùng
Rồi ngày mai
Ai lên đường

Ai có dù phiêu lưu chốn rừng sông
Ai có dù muôn phương bước về đâu
Ai có dù yên vui nơi đồng quê
Nhớ nhớ ta quay về

Aaaa nắm tay nhau mà ca
Bập bùng, bập bùng, bập bùng
Bập bùng tiếng trống bập bùng,
Mịt mùng tiếng hát mịt mùng

Aaaaa luyến lưu sao lòng ta
Lửa hồng lửa hồng chập chùng,
Chập chùng ánh sáng chập chùng,
Lạnh lùng tiếng gió lạnh lùng

Rồi chia tay,
Sau đến nay,
Nghẹn ngào thay
Đêm sum vầy

Mong có ngày nào ta mới gặp nhau
Tay siết bàn tay đưa đón vài câu
Vui vui làm sao, đáy mắt thôi đong sầu

---english translation---

The Last Night

And tonight
The last night
Then tomorrow
Far apart

Oh the sound of the guitar
Oh the singing in the *golden afternoon
Oh I am still wistful about the farewell song, crying inside

And tonight
The last night
Then tomorrow
Someone is gone

Though someone goes on your journey
Though someone goes to anywhere on earth
Though someone is happy where you are
Remember me and come back

Ahhhhh, hold each other's hands and sing
Boom boom boom
Boom boom boom the sound of the drum
Consecutively, the sound of singing

Ahhhh, something dwells in my heart,
Flickering, the fire is flickering
Sparkling, the light is sparkling
Freezing, the wind is freezing

Then farewell,
And now,
We feel rather choking
Missing the night of reunion

Looking forward to the day we meet again
Hold the hands tight, and say hello
Heart filled with joy, eyes no more filled with sorrows
Track Name: Mai Lệ Huyền - Có Ai Trên Đời Mà Không Yêu (Con Tim Và Nước Mắt)
Có Ai Trên Đời Mà Không Yêu (Con Tim Và Nước Mắt)

Có ai trên đời mà không yêu. Dù cho tình yêu chông gai
Có ai trên đời mà không yêu. Dù cho tình yêu chua cay
Có ai trên đời mà không yêu. Dù cho tình yêu không may
Có ai trên đời mà không yêu. Dù cho lòng không tin ai, tin ai
Ôi biết tin ai giờ đây.

Có con tim nào mà không đau. Vì chăng tình yêu cho nhau.
Có con tim nào mà không đau. Vì chăng tình yêu không bao.
Có con tim nào mà không đau. Vì chăng tình yêu không lâu.
Có con tim nào mà không đau. Vì chăng tình yêu ta mau. Yêu nhau, yêu nhau...
Ôi biết bao khổ đau.

Lòng còn yêu (3), tình thì còn thiếu
Lòng còn yêu (3), đớn đau cũng nhiều thêm
Lòng còn yêu (3), tình thì nhiều thêm
Và buồn đau, và buồn đau. Nước mắt bể sâu

Vẫn hay yêu là nguồn thương đau. Mà sao lòng ta không quên
Vẫn hay yêu là nguồn thương đau. Mà sao tình yêu tăng thêm
Vẫn hay yêu là nguồn thương đau. Mà sao lòng ta không yên
Vẫn hay yêu là nguồn thương đau. Mà sao lòng yêu như điên
Yêu trong thương đau. Ôi nước mắt trong bể sâu

---english translation---

No One In This World Can Live Without Love (Heart And Tears)

No one in this world can live without love. Even if love is hard.
No one in this world can live without love. Even if love is bitter.
No one in this world can live without love. Even if love is sorrow.
No one in this world can live without love. Even if you can't trust, can’t trust anyone.
Oh who should we trust.

Every heart gets hurt. Because of love.
Every heart gets hurt. Because of love
Every heart gets hurt. Because love doesn't last long.
Every heart gets hurt. Because our love is gone. Love. Love.
Oh how painful.

Still love (3), couldn't have enough
Still love (3), and pain gets much more.
Still love (3), and love even more
Then there is sadness and grief, and tears.

Knowing that love is pain. But why I can't forget.
Knowing that love is pain. But why love just gets deeper.
Knowing that love is pain. But why my heart can't be calm
Knowing that love is pain. But why I love madly
Love in pain. Oh tears in my heart.
Track Name: Ngọc Giàu - 7 câu vọng cổ chúc Tết
7 câu vọng cổ chúc Tết

Xuân đến đây rồi anh biết không?
Ngàn hoa tươi nở má xuân hồng
Đầu năm hái lộc thay anh đó
Một nửa riêng em, một nửa chồng

Mùa xuân năm nay theo mẹ lên chùa dâng lễ, thắp nén nhan thơm ngào ngạt khói huơng... Thề
Cho kẻ đi xa mau chóng quay về,
Chúc Phước Lộc Thọ cho đồng bào các giới.
Chúc Đại Tiểu Thuơng phát đạt trọn năm
Chúc Chiến Sĩ oai hùng nơi tiền tuyến xa xăm
Tạo thắng lợi lập đầu công trong năm mới
Chúc hậu phuơng muôn nghề đều sanh lợi
Khắp chốn mừng vui vang khúc hát thanh bình.

Đầu năm mong may mắn trọn năm
Gia đình luôn sống trong thanh bình
Mơ phước lộc tràn đầy gia trung
Duyên tình năm xưa ngăn cách
Đón xuân tươi đẹp trọn năm

Trọn năm êm đẹp một mùa xuân với cuộc sống vuơn lên không lắng lo gì

Đầu năm mong may mắn trọn năm
Gia đình luôn sống trong sum vầy
Mơ phước lộc tràn đầy gia trung
Duyên tình năm xưa xa cách
Đón xuân tuơi đẹp trọn năm.

---english translation---

7 Old Tet Wishes

Do you know spring has come?
Thousand of flowers bloom and my cheeks flush
New year I go picking the early buds
Half for me and half for you

This spring I follow my mother to the temple, light the incense, fragrant incense...and pray
May the away people come back
May happiness, windfall and longevity come to our people
May success come to all businesses
May strength come to the soldiers at the battle
To bring victory to celebrate new year
May profits come to our backing* business
Happiness everywhere, song of peace is sung.

May luck come the whole year
May peace come to all family
May prosperity come to every home
May separated love of the past years be fulfilled
To welcome the beautiful spring

May the spring bring peace to the whole year and no worries for the whole life.

New year we pray for luck
Pray for family union
Pray for prosperity in every home
Pray for fulfilled love
To welcome the beautiful spring.

*Backing business: all of the people who don’t combat in the war but stay on the back to work and give material/financial support to the combating team.