True to her name, Hong Nhung is the “Velvet Rose” of the Vietnamese entertainment garden. Her natural singing seduces me. The more I listen, the more hooked I get. From Thuo Bong La Nguoi, to Doan Khuc Thu Ha Noi, and now Bai Hat Ru Cho Anh, she lends new vibes to the works with her gifted talent.
Bai Hat Ru Cho Anh marks an astonishing chemistry between the skillful performer, Hong Nhung, and the expansive writer, Duong Thu. While Duong Thu’s distinctive style find its way into the listener’s heart, Hong Nhung helps breathe fresh air into his compositions. The sensational flute on the title track “Bai Hat Ru Cho Anh” provides a silky-smooth tempo as Hong Nhung cascades her emotional vocals into the lullaby. “Bay Vao Ngay Xanh” is a rare groove with mellow vibes. The best part is near the end of the song where the jazz tune kicks in as she hums to the melody. Together they produce an exotic new sound.
Hong Nhung’s elegant style is both successful when she reaches the high notes effortlessly on “Danh Thuc Tam Xuan” or embraces the low keys perfectly on “Van Hat Loi Tinh Yeu.” Her handling of the words (crescendo and decrescendo) is both skillful and striking. Furthermore, she shows tremendous variations in her style as she proves her ability to perform modern folk on “Thang Tu Ve” as well as up-tempos on “Mat Troi Diu Em” and “Nghe Mua.”
While many singers advance their vocals by learning and practicing, a few are blessed with natural ability. Hong Nhung is among those few who can just pick up a note and flow naturally. The opening track “Cua So Mua Dong” demonstrates distinctive talent of her as she weaves her soul into the track.
I usually don’t feel Bang Kieu’s singing, but he gives a great duet performance with Hong Nhung on “Lang Nghe Mua Xuan Ve.” However, I would prefer Hong Nhung’s solo performance on “Tieng Song” over the collaboration with Bang Kieu. I am glad that she performs English versions of Vietnamese songs instead the other way around, which many new Vietnamese singers do, even though her English has flaws. If she was trained to pronounce the words correctly, she would have done a fantastic job in English just like what she has done in Vietnamese.
Hong Nhung has once again delivered a solid album. Duong Thu compositions match her styles marvelously and the musical arrangements are beautifully structured. Her expertise is the vision to craft an album that leaves little or no room for wasted space. It’s an element that separates great singers from popular singers since not too many performers can construct a solid album, yet Hong Nhung does it with almost every release.