|Lee Kirby in action – Photo: Courtesy of Lee Kirby|
Of the nine popular Vietnamese songs, three are from Trinh Cong Son. Kirby, 34, sings Vietnamese like a local and especially three songs that jump out at you are Diem xua, Nhu canh vac bay and Dem thay ta la thac do by late composer Son.
The album features beautiful images from Kirby’s journeys across Vietnam, which range from relics and tourist attractions such as Hoa Lu (Vietnam’s former capital) and Sam Son beach to small wharves, an ancient temple or a sidewalk café.
“I love to travel around Vietnam and play music up and down the country. I just hope some people from the U.K. get to hear my album,” he said.
“With my album, I want to reiterate my life philosophy that you only live once, to just grasp any opportunities that come to you. With my constant efforts, I’ve managed to do things that not all foreigners can do: speaking, singing in Vietnamese and travelling throughout Vietnam.”
Kirby performed in Hue City on Sunday, Dec 8, as part of his nationwide tour “Lee Kirby – Dear Vietnam”, which is running in Hanoi, Hue, HCMC and southern Rach Gia town until next month.
Kirby began learning Vietnamese in 2003. He only started singing after hearing a song by My Tam – one of Asia’s most successful artists – and he started to learn to sing Vietnamese songs, especially those written by Son who is regarded as Vietnam’s Bob Dylan.
In 2009, he recorded himself singing “Diem xua” and playing the guitar and his clip made him popular nationwide.
Kirby also does some work to promote Vietnamese culture to English-based Vietnamese kids.
During the 2010 Lunar New Year holiday, or Tet, Kirby was asked by Mark Kent, British Ambassador to Vietnam, to perform and record the Vietnamese song ‘Que nha’ (hometown) to help the UK-based Vietnamese community to celebrate Tet far from home.
Kirby’s album is the result of his three-year project “Iced tea with Lee”, which aims to promote Vietnamese culture and images to the world.
His manager Hoang Phuc Thong confirmed that the CD when launched will be available in the book stores of Phuong Nam Corp around Vietnam.
By Derek Milroy