Writings on “Du Ca”,
Musical Movement Of the Youth Of Vietnam.
In the year 1965, me with the music composers Phạm Duy, Nguyễn Ðình Nghĩa had arrived at Dalat, to take part in the night "Music of the Heart" organized by the students of the University of Dalat at the amphitheatre Thụ Nhân.
The sky of Dalat with its fog, I was wrapped myself up in an overcoat lent by older sister Khánh Tuyết, I were still sleepy at the arrival after 2 hours of flight, a voyage by plane which I did not have the practice to make at the time.
Arrived at the University, accommodated by the organizers, we rested then prepared for the evening. At that time, I was already graduate and teaching at the school of music, I had started to appear in front of the pupils, students, through days of conference and presentation of the popular music, traditional music with professors Nguyễn Hữu Ba, Lê Thương, in the colleges, Universities, and I had also started to play in front of the public through charitable days, or among the students at the time of the festivals of the “Têt”.
During my studies of “ca cổ” at the National School Of the Music, I was sent by my professors to record with the group “ca Huế”, the group “chèo Phụng Minh” on the radios Saigon, of the Army, or “the voice of freedom”, I had met the singers regularly, thus, almost everyone knew each one, since the choral society “Thăng Long”, until the group “Tiếng Tơ Ðồng”, etc. Afterwards, playing in programs “the voice of the teaching” of the Centre of the Studies with professor Hùng Lân with the radio or television in the emissions on the knowledge of the popular music of Vietnam, I had been able to work with older sisters Tuyết Hằng, Thu Hà, Hồng Vân of the trio “Ðông Phương”. Although I had always kept relations with the artists, I had chosen my voice in the artistic job like teaching. Thus the musical representations were used to me as meeting with the friends, or then they was occasions to make publicity for the traditional music.
Since the meeting with the group “Trầm Ca”, as the manner of working of this group corresponded to me, I take the plunge. The group “Trầm Ca” comprised at the beginning of five boys, now there was in more one female voice, that made us six (Nguyễn Đức Quang, Trần Trọng Thảo, Hoàng Kim Châu, Đinh Gia Lập, Hoàng Thái Lĩnh, Nguyễn Quốc Văn and Phương Oanh). After Quang and his friends "having emigrated" of Dalat to Saigon, at this time there, we had really worked regularly with the students, pupils and in these ambient conditions, I had made regular meetings with Khánh Ly and Trịnh Công Sơn.
Two ways of presenting, two ways of thinking different between Quang and Sơn, and two ways of appearing in front of the public between me and Khánh Ly, had delighted and impassioned the students of Saigon to Huế. Our friendship until now had remained intact as at the first day.
A manner of writing the music, evoking the pessimistic feeling, on the fatherland, the life, the society, seeking the lapse of memory through a coffee, bitter alcohol glass, naïvely sentimental.
A manner of writing the music, evoking the feelings of people divided by outside, people directed by outside like a pawn on the chess-board, in spite of the domination, the words of the songs had always shown courage, nourishing the spirits for unit to be raised, defending the future of the fatherland.
While the music of Sơn was diffused widely in the coffee rooms, the rooms of music, the music of Quang was known in the medium studied, schoolboy, through camps of social work. A great number of pieces of music of Sơn and Quang were accommodated by the young people and were used in the common activities, creating a healthy environment. The ministry for youth having seen that, had organized sessions of activities ‘Action By Music’ with an aim of building a youth healthy and full with life on all the country.
In the year 1969, with Khánh Ly, Quang and me we had the occasion to produce us in Europe, then we were even more close the ones of the others especially, during this moment the movement “Du Ca” had taken form strongly creating a new and young wave in the society, the movement had been widespread very largely, there were then many groups of ‘du ca’ on all the country, attracting in particular the girls in it to be taken part… I had not more returned regularly towards the friends but had turned over to my position first, trying to make last the class of đàn tranh – Phượng Ca. However with each time the movement “Du Ca” organized an event, each time đàn tranh – Phượng Ca was present to contribute its share by its music, its songs.
After having left Vietnam at the beginning of 1975, I had believed not to meet again my dear friends. But with time, I had been able to join again the contacts, some were still in life, some had disappeared, but the spirit of the friendship remained intact, we behaved like a family. Was the spirit of “Du Ca” there, but where were its members…? The more we lived far from the fatherland, the more we needed the presence of “Du Ca”. Because “Du Ca” was the image of youth Vietnamese living for the society, the fatherland and its people. The more we lived far from the fatherland, the more we needed to join together us to keep intact the spirit of the people for our children and the future generations. We were to thank Nguyễn Hữu Nghĩa which had tried to remake to live the movement “Du Ca” in the first years when we lived abroad, but it was difficult to keep intact the spirit of “Du Ca” if we did not have the people really trained by the Movement.
Now, the creator of the movement had decided to go down from the mountains, energy to again sow the news, the life, the spirit of “Du Ca” from the United States to Canada, Australia, France (?) etc. That had returned to me happy, and had filled with enthusiasm. But there was an obstacle that alive in a society full with conveniences, but there were things which we want that we could not realize, because we were already at a advanced age, then our friends the young people should take again the hand to us, to launch out so that the foundation of the Movement did not sink and to resume the work left with the abandonment… since tens of years.
Our elder Nguyễn Quyết Thắng, Nguyễn Thiện Cơ, Ngô Mạnh Thu, Fa Thăng …And the other elder ones of “Du Ca” that I had not known the name us should be caught the hand, to hope that one day, a Great Festival of “Du Ca” would be organized somewhere, then we could meet each other again, tightening the hands by singing constructive songs on the ground of our own fatherland or in a country which we would call host country on a purely provisional basis.