This is one of Khanh Ly’s most famous songs written by the legendary Trịnh Công Sơn (February 28, 1939 – April 1, 2001) Lyrics and translation after this bio.
Khánh Ly was born Nguyễn Thị Lệ Mai in Hanoi on 6 March 1945. Mai would fall asleep to her father’s soothing singing which planted inside her a love for music. At the age of 9, she entered a contest in Hanoi singing Thơ Ngây. In 1956, she and her mother left Hanoi for South Vietnam. Later that year, Mai entered a children’s talent-search contest in Saigon, and won 2nd prize singing Pham Duy’s famous song, Ngày Trở Về. Her musical career began when she debuted at Club Anh Vũ on Bùi Viện Street in Saigon at the age of 17. She adopted the stage name Khánh Ly, a combination of Khánh Kỵ and Yêu Ly, characters from Chronicles of the Eastern Zhou Kingdoms, her favorite novel.
In late 1962, she relocated to Đà Lạt City and stayed there for 4 years performing at various clubs and resorts. She became the mother of 2 children during this period. In 1964, she met Trịnh Công Sơn, a young composer and a teacher at a school in Bảo Lộc. They quickly became friends. Trinh asked her on several occasions to accompany him in his performances in Saigon, but she couldn’t leave her beautiful Da Lat.
In 1967, she ran into Trịnh on the busy streets of Lê Thánh Tôn. After several serenades and coffee, their musical collaboration begun. Within the next several decades, Khánh Ly and Trịnh Công Sơn sang together at small coffee shops, clubs, and even on the steps of Văn Khoa University. They took the Vietnamese music world by storm. Khanh Ly became the first Vietnamese woman to headline her own show, and the first Vietnamese singer to achieve international fame.
In 1975, Khánh Ly, along with thousands of Vietnamese refugees, crossed the Pacific Ocean and settled in America. Like many, she struggled to find jobs on American soil to provide for her four children. Even though the first few years were difficult, Khánh Ly’s renowned status held her in good stead. Japan, particularly, embraced her. There, she was named one of the World’s top 10 most famous people. She settled with her husband, in Cerritos, California. Khánh Ly has also devoted the majority of her time to humanitarian acts and charitable organizations for Vietnamese orphans as well as Vietnamese refugees around the world. For the past 6 decades, Khánh Ly has left a legacy that she has written and is still writing for the next generation of Vietnam. Her one simple wish is “To breathe my last breath on the stage which gave me life….” On 9 May 2014, she had her first concert in Vietnam National Convention Center, Hanoi, at which she performed many famous songs of hers to thousands of fans.
1. Bao nhiêu năm rồi còn mãi ra đi
Đi đâu loanh quanh cho đời mỏi mệt
Trên hai vai ta đôi vầng nhật nguyệt
Rọi suốt trăm năm một cõi đi về.
Lời nào của cây lời nào cỏ lạ
Một chiều ngồi say, một đời thật nhẹ ngày qua
Vừa tàn mùa xuân rồi tàn mùa hạ
Một ngày đầu thu nghe chân ngựa về chốn xa.
Mây che trên đầu và nắng trên vai
Đôi chân ta đi sông còn ở lại
Con tim yêu thương vô tình chợt gọi
Lại thấy trong ta hiện bóng con người.
2. Nghe mưa nơi này lại nhớ mưa xa
Mưa bay trong ta bay từng hạt nhỏ
Trăm năm vô biên chưa từng hội ngộ
Chẳng biết nơi nao là chốn quê nhà.
Đường chạy vòng quanh một vòng tiều tụy
Một bờ cỏ non một bờ mộng mị, ngày xưa
Từng lời tà dương là lời mộ địa
Từng lời bể sông nghe ra từ độ suối khe.
Trong khi ta về lại nhớ ta đi
Đi lên non cao đi về biển rộng
Đôi tay nhân gian chưa từng độ lượng
Ngọn gió hoang vu thổi buốt xuân thì
Hôm nay ta say ôm đời ngủ muộn
Để sớm mai đây lại tiếc xuân thì..
How many years have I been wandering
Dragging around a tired life
Above me, the moon and sun shining
One hundred years, back and forth to this realm
What strange words from the trees and plants
An evening of drunkenness, life drifting away
The end of the Spring and now the end of the Summer
Autumn arrives and I hear the horses hooves speeding away
Clouds over my head and sun over my shoulder
I move on but the river remains
The Spirit of Love suddenly calls
Reminding me of my Human Soul
2. Listening to the rain here, reminds me of past rains
My rain gives me fleeting memories
A hundred years of emptiness
Do not know a place to call home.
Lost and spinning on the road of life
Greener pastures and earlier dreams long gone
The grave draws nearer with every breath
Every word from the river is heard from the stream
Days come and go, bringing back memories
From the high mountains to the high seas
Humanity is not magnanimous
And the Spring Wind blows and blows
And the Spring Wind blows and blows
(Khanh Ly omits the last two lines below)
Today we embrace life a little worse for wear
And tomorrow will regret it again.
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