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10 Best Vietnamese Tango Songs

June 14th, 2009

It’s probably safe to say that 90% of Tango songs are good. No matter how sad, lonely, or indifference I feel, they always get me on my feet, tapping and singing. There are many, but here are my 10 favorites.

1. Kiep Ngheo – Lam Phuong
I first heard this song when Kim Cuong sang it live during one of her “cai luong” productions back in Vietnam. I was only 9 at the time. Yet, it moved me to tears. I developed a soft spot for it ever since. Even now, I play it on my drive home from work, especially on a dark, rainy night.

2. Nguoi Tho San Va Dan Chim Nho
Forget songs of war and heartbreaks, here’s one about humanity’s insouciance about nature’s repose. With flowing melody and sweet lyrics, it could very well be about cockroaches and still remain on this list.

3. Dung Buoc Giang Ho – Hoang Trong
I travel a lot, especially now as a floater. Whether I’m far or near, in a 5-star or 2-star hotel, I always look forward to coming home. Hoang Trong perfectly reflects that sentiment: “Đã bao năm qua / Sống nơi phương xa / Về phương cũ đành dừng bước chân giang hồ.”

4. Tango Tim – Anh Bang
A great song, a great singer, and a great arrangement. What’s not to love.

5. Thu Ca – Pham Manh Cuong
Among the many great autumn songs, this one ranks towards the top. I can see autumn leaves falling and feel them crackle under my feet just from listening to the song.

6. Pho Buon – Pham Duy
Pham Duy so vividly paints a relentless rain in a deserted neighborhood, draped in darkness with but a single light from afar. The imagery makes it also one of my favorite “rain” songs.

7. Xa Vang – Nguyen Van Hien
Xa Vang catapulted Thien Kim’s career in Vietnam. She was amazing. Quang Dung’s rendition isn’t bad either.

8. Tango Di Vang – Le Minh Bang
Y Lan’s warm vocal and soulful delivery takes this Tango ballad to whole new level.

9. Co Be Ngay Xua
My sister played this song every day when I first came to the US.

10. Tien Buoc Sang Ngang – Hoang Trong
Hoang Trong beautifully scripted a heartfelt song about seeing an ex on her wedding day. I could only imagine the heartache.

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