Musik i det moderne Vietnam
& Van Cao

Uddrag af artiklen "Nationale marcher og romantiske sange" af Niels Fink Ebbesen, fra Vietnam ajour nr. 3/1998.

--- Derfor er de nye (i 30'erne), europæisk-inspirerede sange ikke blot romantiske kærlighedssange, men repræsenterer også en "anti-autoritær" strømning. Ofte var de sange der kom ud af det langt fra optimistiske, men handler om det umulige i kærlighedsprojektet. Nøgleordet er tit længsel som i sangen om Truong Chi af Van Cao (1923-95) den nok mest berømte - og i perioder kontroversielle - moderne digter og komponist. En sang hvis emne typisk nok bygger på en traditionel vietnamesisk fortælling. ----

--- Et andet eksempel (i de første år efter 1945) er Van Cao's yndefulde og næsten mozartske Lang Toi (Min landsby), der senere med stor effekt blev brugt i filmen Cyclo (Rickshaw). -----

Den mest prominente kritiker (i årene 1956-58) var Van Cao, der blev smidt ud af Forfatterforbundet, men karakteristisk nok afskrev man ikke fuldstændig sine gode hoveder i Vietnam. Snarere blev de "lagt på køl" til andre tider. Van Cao blev således allerede i 1959 beskæftiget i Musikerforbundet. Han kunne ikke offentliggøre nye sange, men malede og skrev kun instrumentalmusik og - i al hemmelighed - digte. Han og flere andre blev støttet underhånden, bl.a. fortsatte den berømte general Giap med at have kontakt med Van Cao.

Van Cao's politiske sange forsvandt ikke, og selv vendte han tilbage allerede i begyndelsen af 1980'ne - og altså før doi moi - og da man i 1983 fejrede hans 60-års fødselsdag ved en fest i Musikerforbundet, blev der bogstaveligt talt fældet mange tårer af hans kollegaer, da de igen kunne høre Truong Chi, Thien Thai og ikke mindst Suoi mo, der også har opnået stor popularitet hos den yngre generation.

Sorgernes hymne

af Murray Hiebert, Far Eastern Economic Review, Oversat og bragt i Vietnam-bladet nr. 3/1991

Van Cao's populære musik kan igen høres i Vietnam. Men for den 69-årige komponist til Vietnams militaristiske nationalhymne, kommer den nye frihed for sent. "Jeg er ked af at jeg ikke blev bedt om at tjene mit land," siger den aldrende kunstner, hvis arbejde var bandlyst i 30 år, fordi han kritiserede kommunistpartiets udskejelser sidst i 50'erne. "Nu hvor jeg nyder friheden fil at skabe, er mit helbred så dårligt."
Partiet ophævede i stilhed bandlysningen af Van Cao's arbejder (han er desuden en anerkendt maler og poet), da det lancerede en reformkampagne i 1987, og de regeringskontrollerede medier begyndte igen at offentliggøre hans digte og tegninger. "Når man i Vietnam vil indrømme, en fejltagelse, forsøger man at gøre det i ubemærkethed," udtaler Van Sao. "Vi kysser hinanden og bliver gode venner i soveværelset."
Van Cao's problemer begyndte i 1957 - 3 år efter at kommunisterne havde slået de franske styrker, da han og andre forfattere grundlagde en humanistisk litterær bevægelse, som visnede ligesom de Hundrede Blomsters Kampagne i Kina.
Gruppen begyndte at udgive et litterært tidsskrift Nhan Van, som kritiserede partiets program for fordeling af jord, under hvilket tusinder af jordejere blev dræbt. Det var rigtigt af de intellektuelle at reagere stærkt på disse fejltagelser, der var årsag til drabet på grundlaget for vores revolution," udtaler Van Cao.
Åbenbart af frygt for at gruppens ideer skulle sprede sig, arresterede politiet ca.40 af dens medlemmer, heriblandt et dusin lyrikere Og forfattere. Nogle blev retsforfulgt og idømt fængselsstraffe, og deres værker blev destrueret.
Van Cao blev ikke fængslet, men fik som mange andre ordre til at holde op med at bruge sin pen". "De bandlyste at jeg malede, min kunst og min deltagelse i kulturlivet, fordi jeg var talsmand for de der værdsætter frihed," siger han. "30 år uden lyrik var som 30 år i fængsel".
Kunstneren overlevede ved at skrive filmmusik, sælge små tegninger til aviser og arbejde i et teater. På trods af sine prøvelser siger Van Cao, at han aldrig blev udstødt af Partiet, endsige trak sig selv.
Van Cao voksede op i den nordlige havneby Haiphong i 20'erne Og hans opvækst nær ved havet spiller stadig en afgørende rolle i hans musik. "Jeg forstår livet gennem floder og bølger", siger han og forklarer dermed, hvorfor mange af hans digte handler om havet og floderne. Van Cao studerede ved Den Indokinesiske Kunstnerskole i Hanoi. Han siger, at den voldsomme hungersnød under den japanske besættelse, under hvilken 1 mio. menes omkommet, fik ham til i 1944 at gå ind i den revolutionære bevægelse Viet Minh, for at gøre en ende på over 50 års fransk styre.
Kort efter at Van Cao ankom til Viet Bac basen nær den kinesiske grænse, bad Viet Minh ham om at komponere en sang til opmuntring for soldaterne. Han skrev "Fremad March (vietnams soldater)":
"Vores flag er rødt af sejrens blod, løfter landets ånd / Vejen til hæder går over vore fjenders lig / Fremad! Vort Vietnam er stærkt og evigt."
(dansk gendigtning: "Ud til fronten haster vi / Frem! for folkets sag / fremad! mod sejer! / Vort folk står enigt og stærkt!).
"Jeg ønskede at skrive en sang, der var så enkel at alle forstod den, lige fra børn til bønder," udtaler han, Fem dage før Ho Chi Minh erklærede uafhængigheden, valgte han Van Cao's sang til nationalsang.
I begyndelsen af 80'eme var der en konkurrence om en ny nationalhymne, men ingen af forslagene blev vurderet til at have tilstrækkelig høj kvalitet til at kunne erstatte Van Cao's.
Når Van Cao i dag spiller klaver, slår han ofte i tangenterne med sine knytnæver og albuer. Han siger at han gør det, fordi hans højre hånd er stiv pga. en skade fra en cykelulykke i 60'erne, men han indrømmer, at den vrede stil også passer til hans frustration efter bandlysningen af hans kunst.


Van Cao - Composer of Patriotism and Love

Profile from Nhan Dan, Tuesday, April 20, 1999

Composer Van Cao worked with great zeal for the revolution even before the August Revolution (August 1945). He wrote Tien Quan Ca (Marching Song) at the request of the Military Administration School and in November 1944, the song was engraved on stone by Van Cao himself and printed in Doc Lap (Independence) newspaper. Upon arriving in Hanoi, when he was passing by Mai Hac De Street, he heard his song being played on the mandolin. "I stopped and suddenly felt deeply moved. Probably the people in disastrous situation who I met on my miserable path were now taking up arms and singing the song". (1)

On August 17, 1945, at a meeting of the Hanoi people, the Five-Winged Star Red flag was hoisted on the top of the Grand Theatre and the whole auditorium resounded with the Marching Song. President Ho Chi Minh chose this song himself for the national anthem of a new Vietnam and later the National Assembly officially ratified the song. All the patriotic Vietnamese, from the national defending soldiers to the women operating in the jungles of the Northern Vietnam, the mothers in the Southern Vietnam's resistance area, the political prisoners on Con Dao (Poulo Condor) Island, on Phu Quoc Island, in Tong Nha (the Saigon regime's Police Headquarters), in Phu Loi prison, all sang the song, urging them to keep firm their fighting spirit, braving their lives in the fight against the enemy, "The flag is printed with blood and permeated with national sou l. Do rise up to break up the fetters".

Whenever Van Cao is remembered, his majestic and eternal Marching Song is also recalled. That kind, gentle man brewed in his soul an aspiration and confidence of the enslaved whole nation which was to rise up. Half a century has gone by, but today whenever the song is sung, our gratitude should go to Van Cao, who wrote such a majestic song for the nation. par Van Cao was born on November 15, 1923. In 1939, at 16 years of age, he wrote Buon Tan Thu (Sadness at the End of Autumn), then Then Thai (Eden) in 1941, Ben Xuan (The Shore of Spring) in 1942, Cung Dan Xua (The Old Tune) in 1942, Suoi Mo (Dreamy Stream) in 1943 and Truong Chi in 1943. A stream of love songs overf lew from the heart of a young man who had never known what love was like, who had never taken the hand of a girl (2).

It was probably the way for the young man of great aspiration to get out of the deadlock when his country was being invaded. His music and lyrics were touched with sadness, yet the pure, innocent sadness without being getting turbid. None of his love song s are so sad. They are now mournfull, now uplifting, perfect with words taken from the poems written by Van Cao himself. For this reason, until today these works have still made people dazed, raising man's soul to the world of purity. Then Thai and Truong Chi songs are the peak of romantic music, and also from this peak, Van Cao decided to follow the revolutionary struggle for national independence. Then Thai was the dream amid a filthy world, while Truong Chi was a failed love story between an artist and a girl of an aristocratic family. Beside the romatic world of his music are the patriotic songs: Go Dong Da (Dong Da Mound), Thang Long Hanh khuc, or Marching Song, Song Lo (the Lo River), Tien Ve Ha Noi (Advance towards Hanoi).

The romantic tunes has brought Van Cao to the world of love songs, and this romance together with his patriotism helped raise his soul to write revolutionary songs calling on young people to fight against the enemy, "Oh, Thang Long, oh, Thang Long, oh, Thang Long, tomorrow in glory we will build it with heroic spirit..."

Van Cao, that dreamy man, let his soul fly far from reality so that he could write songs, Hai Quan Vietnam (Vietnam Navy), Khong Quan Vietnam (Vietnam Air Force). His love for the revolutionary army, his aspiration helped him go ahead of time for several decade s. Then the nationwide resistance war broke out and Van Cao joined the revolutionary forces and went to the resistance base in Viet Bac (the Northern Vietnam), where he wrote such musical pieces as Lang Toi (My Village) or Ngay Mai (Tomorrow). These songs w ere permeated with his love for the home village, for the guerillas. His once romantic heart now opened to welcome a wind of change in his emotion. It was the war then, the sacrifice, the losses, the yearnings of the people. His music was full of fragrance of new rice plants, the rice fields in flame, they were the "rustic symphony" in his soul.

During the war years, Van Cao dreamt of the day when the liberation army advanced towards Hanoi. Yet, only 5 to 6 years after that his dream could come true. Art is so wonderful. With dreams it can help create its reality, and a great artist can find the harmonious complement of art and reality, "The five gates of the city are welcoming home the returning army. Like the welcoming flower cup opening up its five petal s stayed with shining dew drops"...

Yet all these songs are only small when they are placed beside the majestic musical piece "Song Lo." In the prelude part, the composer put in a poetic, legendary atmosphere of Viet Bac, then a Song Lo in war, very gradios e, fierce, and in the final part, Van Cao describes Song Lo in a gentle, ardent music.

In 1947, when Van Cao was 24, he wrote Song Lo, a long poem in music, rich in colour. It was his success, touched with the majestic taste of Beethoven's music as he later admitted. Song Lo has gone into Vietnam's history as a great exploit of art beside the great exploit of the people and army in defeating the French colonialists. And it will remain forever in the heart of the people. Van Cao was a talented, sensitive man. He had aspirations for success in many artistic areas like music, poetry and painting. His poems explored the inner world of man; his paintings, particularly his illustrations, had a style of his own. But whenever we talk about Van Cao, we talk of his music first. Over the past half of the century, he has been a great composer.

Van Cao has passed away, but the art world of his remains for generation after generation to enjoy immensely and passionately, to love and respect him, a love which is as pure and noble as his soul and music.

NGO NGOC NGU LONG, Ho Chi Minh City

(1) From the Memoirs "Why did I write "Marching Song'". (2) His intimate talk during the interview on 28 July 1993.

Thien Thai

(1941)

Somebody's singing voice echoes on the waves in the afternoon. I remember Mr. Luu and Mr. Nguyen got lost in Dao Nguyen in the old times. There was the path to the fairyland and the source of l ove mingling with the music in the wind. The longing and sad music. The passionate notes like water stirred by the boat. The sounds faded. Sadness in the sky full of fog and smoke. The boat floated. The homeland disappeared behind the mountains. The oars stirred the Ngoc Tuyen water. Who is singing on the Dao Nguyen bank.

Thien Thai, spring flowers have not met the worldly butterflies. The peach season has never ended.

The moon shines, music is heard. Here and there, a longing heart. The happy note echoes. Somebody forgets the worldly life. The music is searching for love. Thien Thai, the moonlight melts into a worldly spring. Love for once in a life time. The wind sings the song. The sounds of the cymbals echo. Don't make me sad with memories of those days .

In Dao Nguyen, Luu and Nguyen forgot the world, singing with the fairies.
Missing their homeland, they set sail one afternoon, but found no way to return to the fairy land.

Luu and Nguyen came back to look for Dao Nguyen of the old days.
When the sun sets and the moon rises, their sad song still echoes in the fairy land.

(English adaptation)

Biografi Trin Cong Son