The world of music

Amal Chatterjee
4 min readMar 19, 2017

Source: Google photo of Khanh Ly

Synopsis : She was a young teenager during the war in Vietnam who sang the songs of war and tragedy, of yearning for peace and mourned all the death and destruction through her soulful songs that made her famous in Vietnam so I thought of introducing her to the world and present to you one of her most loved songs.

There was a young beautiful girl called Khanh Ly in Vietnam. She had a haunting voice and mesmerised people with her tragic songs about the war in Vietnam in 1967. I was just a young man serving there as a volunteer agronomist and heard about the young girl who sang so passionately about the war and how it was devastating her beautiful land.

It was a war like no other. It rained down bombs on people everywhere. It destroyed lives and scarred the landscape . It brought pain and untold misery to people who were fighting for their freedom and a chance to live in peace. Everyday the bodies came back in coffin to be buried by the grieving mothers, sisters, wives and grandparents. Everyday new graves were dug in forgotten corners of the land but the war continued.

Prisons were filled with people who only wanted peace. The pain and cries of people could not be heard beyond the prison walls who were being tortured . Such were the anguish the young girl sang about in her mournful and haunting songs that resonated through the land but she was villified for wanting peace. The writer of such songs was a young man called Trinh Cong Son but it was Khanh Ly who gave life to the lyrics.

Very few people outside Vietnam have ever heard of Khanh Ly and her songs. Often I thought of how many Khanh Lys are out there who are so wonderful people that the world has never heard of and thought what if you heard her once and understood what she sang ?

She is old now and her lilting voice has taken its toll but she still sings and appears in TV shows. A young American man who loves Vietnam and the songs of Trinh Cong Son has translated many of his songs and sings himself on Vietnam TV has made it his lifetime quest to let the world know the beauty of Khanh Ly’s songs.

I now bring you one of her most famous songs for you to listen to and think deeply about the meaning of the words. Many of you have never known the war in Vietnam but ask your fathers or brothers who served there. They will tell you how horrible it was .

But Vietnam now is at peace and is a beautiful country.

The video link :

(Note : Just highlight the link, right click and go to the link)

The lyrics : Xin cho toi (Please give me)

Xin cho mây che đủ phận người Please cover enough people

Xin cho tôi một sáng trời vui Please give me a good morning

Xin cho tôi đến tận nụ cười Please let me smile

Cho tôi quên một nấm mộ tươi Let me forget a fresh grave

Xin cho tôi xin vạn lần rồi Please let me last ten times

Một góc này chỉ biết rong chơi This corner is just playing

Xin cho tôi yên phận này thôi Please give me this peace

Xin cho tôi yên ngủ một ngày Please let me sleep for a day

Xin cho đêm không có đạn bay Please have no bullets tonight

Xin cho chim góp nhạc về trời Please let birds sing to the heaven

Xin cho tôi là kiếp của mây Please let me be the clone of clouds

Xin cho tôi ra khỏi cuộc đời Please let me out of life

Để bao giờ trời đất yên vui To ever happy land and heaven

Xin cho tôi xin lại cuộc đời Please cover enough people

Cho tôi đi xây lại chuyện tình Please give me a good morning

Cho tôi đi nâng dậy hòa bình Please let me smile

Cho tôi đi qua tận gập ghềnh Let me forget a fresh grave

Nhìn dòng máu trong tim anh Please let me last ten times

Cho tôi xin tay mẹ nồng nàn This corner is just playing

Cho tôi nghe chân trẻ rộn ràng Please give me this peace

Cho quê hương giấc ngủ thật hiền Please let me sleep for a day

Rồi từ đó tôi yêu em Freedom I love you

Xin cho tôi nguyên vẹn hình hài Please let me remain intact

Cho tôi nghe lời hát cỏ cây Let me hear the song of grass

Xin cho tôi quên phận tù đày Please forgive my imprisonment

Xin cho tôi là thoáng rượu cay Please let me be spicy wine

Xin cho tôi xin cả cuộc đời Please let me have a lifetime

Một hôm nào trẻ hát trong nôi One day a child sang in cradle

Xin cho tôi xin chỉ một ngày. Please let me just one day.

Hope you can feel the pain through her song and her words. Khanh Ly will always remain one of my favorites .

Hope you can feel the pain through her song and her words. Khanh Ly will always remain one of my favorites .

Now I want you to listen to the beautiful song called the “Air de liberte” by Jean Ferrat who brought to focus the atrocities of the war in Vietnam like perhaps no one could.

The video link :