Vietnam’s music industry is going to see a second record launched in vinyl, after the first one attracted considerable public interest in 2011.
“Lang Le Tieng Duong Cam” (Tranquil piano rhythms) gathers ten songs by songwriter and pianist Nguyen Anh 9, whose songs have been popular on local stages since the early 1970s, when he was in his 30s.
The album includes his classic love songs such as Buon Oi Chao Mi (Goodbye to Sadness) and Tinh Khuc Chieu Mua (A Rainy Afternoon Love Song).
Duc Tri, the young songwriter who is releasing the album, said the recording has been completed and sent to the US for mastering by Doug Sax, a trumpet player who opened one of the very first independent mastering facilities in the world in 1967.
Sax also made Vietnam’s first vinyl record in 2011 for music diva My Linh.
For this vinyl record, Tri opted for new voices instead of divas.
“It does not matter if the singers are famous. I choose their voice, not their names, and I think they sang closest to the spirit of Nguyen Anh 9’s music that I could imagine,” he said in a recent report by The Thao & Van Hoa.
Tri said Nguyen Anh 9’s music is loved by everyone; it’s simple, sincere and spontaneous.
His first song, Khong (No more), was written during a tour of France in late 1969 and early 1970. He was humming some tunes while walking with famous singer Khanh Ly, and she said it was good and asked him to continue.
Born Nguyen Dinh Anh, the 73-year-old songwriter found the name a little too long to be attached with the names of his songs.
He considered “Nguyen Anh” but that was similar to the name of the first Nguyen king, so his first lover suggested “Nguyen Anh 9,” as “Nguyen Anh” has nine letters and “9” is a lucky number.
The songwriter is called “Nguyen Anh Chin” in Vietnamese.
Tri said the lyricist had complimented him on the album, saying it was the best recording of his songs that he has heard.
He intends to release 1,500 copies of the 180-gram, 33RPM record for between VND800,000 and VND1 million (US$38-40) apiece, Tri said, adding that there was a demand for vinyl records in Vietnam and that he has plans to make several more after this one.
The launch date has not been revealed.
But songwriter Anh Quan, My Linh’s husband, who recorded her VND1.5 million ($72) vinyl record, said the market was still “very small.”
Quan said there are some picky listeners who want vinyl records, but that is not enough to develop a vinyl record industry in Vietnam. Linh’s record is also available on CD and iTunes.
Vietnam used to have a recording facility for vinyl records under the culture ministry during the golden time of the records between 1950 and 1980, when there were several mastering facilities in the south.
But economic difficulties prevented the agencies from improving their technologies and raising product quality.
In the mid eighties, many Vietnamese people were still keeping vinyl records made at home, or in the Soviet Union and Western countries. The advent of cassettes and later, CDs, made vinyl records now an antique item sought by audiophiles.