Aspiration for peace and tranquility in Trinh Cong Son's music

Updating Date: 03/08/2021 18:36:19


(QTO) - Trinh Cong Son was a rare artist in the world when  infusing  the quintessence of ideology, philosophy and religion into the songs with a sincere and painful emotion. Each of his songs seemed to carry the vitality of a human being, or at least the fluttering flesh of a living soul  stirring in joy and sorrow, wanting to take refuge in the mortal world and not willing to part. It was both a fairy tale and a story of today, even pragmatic to every breath, this was clearly shown in the song " Yellow skin”, a unique songwriting direction to strongly oppose the war and passionately call for peace and unification for the Vietnamese fatherland. It was indeed, a rare feat of art.


The art program "Let's love each other" to celebrate the 20th anniversary of musician Trinh Cong Son's death was held in Quang Tri on the evening of April 17, 2021 - Photo: D.V


The desire for peace, the desire for a peaceful life,  living kindly with each other...which is by origin, the aspiration of kind  people, and that is even more, by nature, the idea of ​​artists and writers when devoting for, not only with Trinh Cong Son. However,  this dream in him was always intense, transparent and relentless, especially in the time when the country was divided and the war was  constant. The Yellow skin song, a unique creation, at least in Vietnam, was born in that context like a voice from the heart of Lac Hong’s  children , both familiar and strange, both heartbroken- close, and yet at the same time tragic-far. Because war, even if it was a war of self-defense, it was also a "cannibal" (Mencius), so sacrifices and losses, visible or invisible, are inevitable, and people had to be suffered ,despite of their willingness. Therefore, even if it was a just war, it was also an unwilling  war, when it forced to take up arms to protect the homeland, independence and freedom, and also because there was  no other way.


In such inspiration, Trinh Cong Son's anti-war songs were different from many "war life  music" composers  at the same time. He did not poetize soldiers’ life, did not recall  poverty and describe suffering in the usual way, did not talk about the personal life and death , but it was the daily chanting, "to whom the bells pray" for the whole Lac Hong race . He  had composed songs of collective praying spirit, whether it was about a  biological death of an individual or not. "Mother's inheritance", "Singing on corpses", "Letting a person lie down", "Cannon lulls the night", "Mother's song"...were the  prayers for the soul by sound. The war appeared with a cold and cruel "death" face, with the suffering and mourning that could not be explained through the image and the echo  of  Trinh Cong Son’s songs, became more and more miserable and human fate tragic haunt.. And it seemed that all the pain, the immense burden of the war was poured down on the back, on the shoulders and into the hearts of Vietnamese mothers who had been as " a husband longing for mountain” from previous lives.


"Mother sat lulling her child, swaying  the sad hammock, swaying her fate / Mother  sat lulling her child listening to the land calling out all the debt in exile / Mother sat for a hundred years like a sad statue  remained in the homeland / Innocent age, hateful world , prison war" (Mother's Song). And even if there were  no injuries on human bodies , Vietnamese people through the war also had  suffered mental injuries that are not easy to cure. Trinh’s songs was a smart and sensitive secretary who prescribed medicine for those who sing his songs.


Trinh’s music lit the torch of peace, created  a wave rolling river in a series of anti-war songs, always rejected violence  degenerating  people. But he  pained  a lot with a unique expression like no other when he seemed to poetize the war to denounce it in a double manner : "Cannon lulls the night", "Sings on corpses",..., even  put the lyrical character in music into a critical situation and full of paradoxes and adversities: "Mother clapped her hands to celebrate war, sister clapped her hands to cheer for peace..." to expose the dilemmas of the world, the irregularity of  the war life.


For his hometown of Quang Tri, the genius musician had at least one unforgettable predestination. . That was the " O Ly Mother" song which  passionately described  a mother running away from bombs during the hot summer of 1972 into the ancient capital of Hue. This was a unique anti-war work, when it did not  directly talk about the war with the head bleeding, with the smoke and fire, with the life and death. But when singing, it was still filled with the pain of war. The mother was forced to leave her hometown of Quang Tri, and  the "mother's fortune" was only a pumpkin. From the specific story, the musician had sympathized and shared from the bottom of his heart that he wrote a song with a folk melody, folk style with a familiar minor vocal voice in his songs, being painful to the end.  And the last part of his song resounded like a new voice about the painful war, like a lullaby about a mother in her hometown of O Ly (as it was called in the past about a strip of land including Quang Tri): “Mother holds a pumpkin / Eyes still blank / The road is empty  / the body is  small/ Mother holds a pumpkin / Going to a far market / Mother misses the home / Areca trees in the backyard  / Only pumpkins / the trellis full of flowers in memory "...


Quang Tri today has been trying to become a red address to cultivate peaceful and humanistic aspirations for the soul and will of Vietnam to be united, harmonious and powerful, open up and connect international friends.  That is also the long-lasting longings of Vietnamese people, in which a patriot and musician with all his heart was namely called: Trinh Cong Son.


Pham Xuan Dung

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