Whenever I sing or listen to olden Vietnamese songs, PP comes by and inquires if the singer was crying, because to his non-Vietnamese ears, the Vietnamese tunes I love leave a trail of sorrow that is of equavilence of one’s weeping heart.
This passage has somewhat put PP’s observation in perspective. I have a similar thought about the soul of these tunes but could not articulate this thought until I read these lines.
The voice of Thái Thanh, despairing and tender, soared through the speakers, mourning love’s end. The songs we Vietnamese loved were about farewell and separation, spiraling sadness, rainy nights, and solitary souls. Even before the calamity of country lost, sorrow was deeply carved and deeply felt in Vietnam’s soul. A strange grief had long ago roped itself around the country’s neck, leaving deep, inedible marks on its flesh.
The Lotus And The Storm, a novel by Lan Cao.