Posted on 02 April 2012 by Ronald Gilliam
Trịnh Công Sơn (February 28, 1939 – April 1, 2001) was a Vietnamese composer, musician, painter and songwriter. He, along with Phạm Duy and Văn Cao, is widely considered one of the three most salient figures of modern Vietnamese music.
Trịnh Công Sơn wrote over 600 songs, and, during the 1960s and 1970s, Joan Baez dubbed him the Bob Dylan of Vietnam for his moving antiwar songs. He became one of South Vietnam’s best-known singer-songwriters, after his first hit, Ướt mi (Tearing ‘Lashes) in 1957. He was frequently under pressure from the government, which was displeased with the pacifist’s lyrics of such songs as Ngủ đi con (Lullaby, about a mother grieving for her soldier son). His songs were restricted by the South Vietnamese government. After the reunification in 1975, Son was sentenced by the new communist government, to “retraining” in a labour camp after his family fled to Canada. However, he was eventually honoured by the government and many officials sent their respects with floral tributes. His often melancholy songs about love and postwar reconciliation earned new acceptance and popularity in later years.
There are two singers’ names often associated with Trịnh Công Sơn: Khánh Ly and Hồng Nhung