Bích Vân’s debut, Kiếp Nào Có Yêu Nhau, demonstrates the benefits of being an independent singer. She has complete control of her creative output. She chose the right songs for her voice and hired the appropriate musicians to produce them. The result is a superb album that could be experience in its entirety.
Even though nine out of the ten songs on the album are well-known standards, she has managed to inject her own feelings and soaring soprano into them with the help of elegant, exceptional arrangements. On “Nữa Hồn Thương Đau,” Hoài Phương reworks a Phạm Đình Chương ballad into a blues form and Zoltan Vegvari enhances the song with his mesmerizing piano solo and accompaniment. Hoài Phương also turns “Tuổi 13,” a Ngô Thụy Miên’s ballad, into a bossa nova flavor and adds his own sax supplement into the record.
Elsewhere, Hoàng Công Luận, one of the Vietnamese best classical-inflected arrangers and pianists, contributes three excellent tracks. His skillful string orchestration is showcased in the title track, “Kiếp Nào Có Yêu Nhau” (Phạm Duy), and his sensational jazz touch is displayed in “Hoài Cảm” (Cung Tiến).
Another standout arranger is Phan Khắc Tuấn who invigorates “Xin Còn Gọi Tên Nhau,” a Trường Sa standard, using the blues. Brian Mantz enriches the late-night vibe with his hypnotic muted trumpet sounds. With Ngô Hoàng’s sensational orchestration, Bích Vân was abled to slip in her own tune “Một Mảnh Tình Thơ” without sounding out of place among the old standards.
Although the album features a wide range of songs and arrangers, it still sounds cohesive throughout because of Bích Vân’s indelible delivery and art direction. Kiếp Nào Có Yêu Nhau is a strong debut. Can’t wait to hear where she will be heading next.