A central highlands song-writer honors his voice

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Nguyen Cuong, the famous rock songwriter, plans to release a DVD highlighting the work of one of his favorite collaborators, singer Y Moan.

The pair worked closely to promote the sounds of the Tay Nguyen (Central Highlands).

While the release date has not yet been set, the DVD promises to pay homage

to a life-long collaboration between singer and songwriter. Moan, who wowed audiences during the eighties with his raw voice, is currently suffering through the final stages of cancer.

"With me, Moan is not only a student, a spiritual brother but also a very close friend for nearly 30 years now," Cuong told a local newspaper during a recent interview in Hanoi. "We share a destiny."

Cuong grew up amid the Capitol city's busy Old Quarter. After graduating from the Hanoi Music Conservatory in 1965, he moved to the Central Highlands and fell in love with the musical sound of the Ede ethnic minority. Cuong met Moan, an Ede farmer, in 1981 and was immediately taken with his powerful singing voice.

"When we first met, Moan was very wild and just sang by his instinct, no techniques, no colors. The market at the time was full of overseas Vietnamese singing sentimental songs," the composer said. "But it was his strange wildness, the complete Central Highlands spirit in him, that made me think Moan would sing my songs well."

Y Moan performed all Cuong's first works of Tay Nguyen theme - four songs, two dances and a concerto.

Y Moan's unique voice popularized Cuong's lyrics to the ears of listeners throughout the country.

Several found success covering Cuong's songs, Y Moan's voice is still "the purest and wildest."

The coming DVD (the first to focus on the work of Y Moan) will feature 12 songs and some video clips of his life.

Cuong said Y Moan has performed his role perfectly. "I'm grateful to him, because a song needs the singer to reach the public. Y Moan is the finest of highlands soul and culture."

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