Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Look At Vietnames Pop Music

It seems like only yesterday that I read an article in Atlas magazine about a North Vietnanese pop music band that got ten years in jail for possession of records and cassettes from South Vietnam, with which they were at war. The question of "cultural contamination was as much an issue as the hostility between what was then two countries.

It is for this reason that I found this video to be so interesting. If I were listening to Z 100 or WPLJ, this song (Lunh Lung or "Cold Heart) would fit right in. Unfortunately both stations seem to have a policy not to play music in Vietnamese, which is of course not the policy at

While I was checking out the Vietnamese music scene on You tube, I got turned on to Lam Truong, who has a much softer style which although westers showcases the beauty of the Vietnamese language far better than does rock music.

It is interesting that one of the main characters appears wearing a Christian cross. Catholicism is a minority religion in Vietnam with about 7% of the population. Will the inroads made by capitalism and cultural liberalisation result in a government with a thorough respect for human rights? I really don't know. But Vietnam has 85 million people and a historical distrust of China. It will not willingly let itself be a satellite of China. Back in the seventies, they fought a brief bloody border war in 1979. Vietnam did very well, repulsing the Chinese aggression. The Chinese spin was that the invaded to "teach Vietnam a lesson".

My last video with this posting is Con ta voi nong nan by a singer named Quang Dung. I like the video a lot better than the one with Katy Katy because it shows landscapes and scenes that are more distinctively Vietnamese.

Vietnam has many fascinating features. It is the only country in continental Asia that uses a Latin alphabet. It has a lot of ethnic diversity. It is also a regional superpower, casting a long shadow over Cambodia and Laos.

If you want an alternative to Chinese goods because of their forced abortion policy, Vietnam does not engage in this despicable practice, although unfortunately abortion is legal there.

I hope my listeners enjoy this selection of Vietnamese music, which is an interesting reflection of the cultural evolution in that fascinating country

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