The world of music

Amal Chatterjee
5 min readJun 15, 2021

Source: Google photo of Khanh Ly

Source : Google photo

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 mesmerized 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. Every day the bodies came back in coffins 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 vilified 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. An American 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, brothers and husbands who served there. They will tell you how horrible it was.

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

Video 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 night
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 Please let me hold my mother’s hands
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 let me forget 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 Jean Ferrat singing Air de liberte in French because no one comes close to him when it comes to singing about the war and its atrocities in Vietnam.

Video link : Air de liberte

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