Nam Anh Ta ’12 and Toan Tran’09: “Great circle of Vietnam”

Vocal: Nam Anh Ta ’12

Guitar: Toan Tran ’09 (not in the class)

Composers: Trinh Cong Son

Lyricists: Trinh Cong Son (Vietnamese), Richard Fuller (English)

Records at room studio.

“Great circle of Vietnam”

About the song:

Written by Trinh Cong Son, “Bob Dylan of Vietnam” according to Joan Baez, the song first appeared in the escalating years of the Vietnam war, around late-1960. It was written and sang by a person from the South about the union of the country and the people of the North and the South. Ironically, it is not the intention of the Southern administration but of the Northern one.

Trinh Cong Son, appeared around the same time as Dylan, was very similar to the American counterpart. He majored in culture and Vietnamese but then dropped out of the University. His songs are simple and powerful but only require a guitar. He is great as a poet and most of his songs can be read as a prose.

The Great Circle of Vietnam charms the audience by the sound of a folk song. We sped up the song a bit but decided not to change it into electronic. It became a song for the youth union. We sang it in the Vietnamese Cultural Night this year as a sign of another reunion. Vietnamese students unite as a whole. A lot of us came from Northern part of Vietnam today while most of Vietnamese Americans are the second/third generation of Vietnamese refugee after the war.

The translation of Richard Fuller is great. He brought all the most important lines into English. We did change a bit of the English lyrics to be more suitable but mostly we just try to breath in the Viet spirit while singing the song in English.

This is the English lyrics:

1. From jungled hills to the distant sea,
We form a giant circle to unite our country.
From far and wide, we now return,
With joy, like a sandstorm, to the far horizons,
Let’s now join hands :
A great circle of Viet Nam

Flags in the wind, happy nights and days,
Of one blood our hearts ablaze,
Reconciled, a new day.
Hamlet, town now joined as one,
Remember the dead as we bask in the sun,
And one by one, we spread our smiles.

2. From North to South, we all join hands,
From fields long abandoned to mountainous lands,
We’ll ford deep streams, climb over hills.
From hamlets to the cities,
We embrace with glee an eternal circle :
Dead and living, one are we.

Dead and living, one are we.

Dead and living, one are we.

Dead and living, one are we.

Nam Anh Ta ’12 – Music 108 – Spring 2009

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