Singer Bong Mai: Children should sing songs which truly celebrate their childhood

Monday, 2018-07-16 09:14:12
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Singer Bong Mai
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NDO – Singer Bong Mai has spent a lot of time and effort on her project of a children’s music channel, Sing Channel, which stores nearly 3,000 Vietnamese children’s songs, marking it the first of its kind targeting children.

She granted an interview to Nhan Dan newspaper to share more about her project, as well as her hope to provide Vietnamese children with songs which truly celebrate their childhood.

Question: It is said that your project was designed to fulfil the wish of your father, renowned musician An Thuyen. Is this true?

Singer Bong Mai: Yes, it is. The project was first launched as an initiation of my father and his friends, Hoang Long and Phan Phuong. They worked together to collect children’s songs written by composers of their generations, who are all veteran musicians in Vietnamese music.

It is sad that my father passed away after the first volume had been released. However, the trio had already drafted the second and third volumes.

When I inherited the work from my father and got involved in the project, I found great interest in it.

I finished the second volume and presented them to the musicians, they were very tough. However, I thought everything shouldn’t stop there, because the songs were just on paper, they deserved to be sung out loud instead.

Can you tell us more about the preparation for the launch of Sing Chanel, which has brought Vietnamese children songs closer to listeners?

I had permission from the veteran musicians to use their songs for three years. Now I have the copyright of more than 3,000 children songs, and only 20% of them have been popularised to the public.

Many of the unreleased songs were written by established musicians such as Huy Du, Ho Bac, and Tran Hoan.

I have released around 20 songs on Sing Channel at https://singchannel01.blogspot.com/ and on Youtube at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJIVLw3iXWeYAoEL7RYv_gA. Although many people said that I was crazy to follow such non-profit work for the community, I want Vietnamese children to listen to and sing melodies which bring memories of their childhood.

Under the project, each participating musician has a Youtube account to log into Sing Chanel and track their songs and see how their works benefit the community.


Yong members of Sing Channel project practicing for the recording of a song at the studio (Photo: Sing Channel)

It is surprising to hear from you that nearly 80% of your 3,000 songs have not yet been made public. For years, we have glossed over that Vietnamese children are in such a shortage for songs which are dedicated to them, and they have to sing the sounds of adult music. What do you think about this?

I started the project with the hope to establish a search archive for this kind of music.

I was overwhelmed when I made my first steps into children’s music, which I think is a fertilised yet abandoned land. It is sad that we have cried a lot about the shortage of music for children without taking any action. I think it is better to do it now.

As most of the songs were written in the past, how do you make the channel’s songs appeal to today’s audience?

The songs are recorded in a studio with acoustic music without glossy music videos, in which the singers dress beautifully but lip-sync. I want to bring a different approach to children’s music, which should be pure, innocent and true to children’s nature.

I am happy that my project has attracted a lot of interest and the participation of many young singers and song-writers, who are committed to work in the project for the long term.

In my recent trips to the US last year, I was upset to see that Overseas Vietnamese children don’t know of orhow to sing Vietnamese music. I want to develop the project as a way to help them learn more about their motherland through music, so that Vietnamese songs would be sung cheerfully abroad.

Thank you so much for your sharing!