Veteran musician Phan Huynh Dieu will give a performance tonight in HCM City to celebrate his 90th birthday.
The name of the show, Cuoc Doi Van Dep Sao (Life Is Still Beautiful), references the musician’s most popular song.
Singers from different generations will perform a variety of songs about love and patriotism.
Elderly amateur singers from singing contest Tieng Hat Mai Xanh (Forever Young Voice), on which Dieu is one of the judges, will also lend their voices to the occasion.
Singer Vu Dau, famous for her rendition of Life Is Beautiful, will join the performance too.
The song was written in the 1970s when Dieu was in the hospital.
“I was very weak. Thanks to intensive caring by a nurse, I gradually felt better. I was inspired by Duong Huong Ly’s poem to write the song Life Is Beautiful,” he said.
The first singer to perform the song was Quoc Hung, who was also in the hospital with me. The song resounded in the hospital, making everyone joyful,” the musician recalled.
Born in the central city of Da Nang, he first encountered music in the form of mandolin. He wrote his first song, Trau Cau (Betel and Areca), when he was 18.
He joined the national resistance movement in 1946 and was sent to the north to study music professionally.
He has been a member of the standing committee of Viet Nam Composers Association since 1957 and was awarded the Third Order Independence Medal in 1988 and Ho Chi Minh Prize for Literature and Art in 2000.
The song Bong Cay Ko Nia (Ko Nia Tree Shadow) is another highlight of his career. Based on a poem by Ngoc Anh, the song took a long time to compose, as the composer was not satisfied with the first draft he completed in 1959.
In 1964, Dieu went to battle in the Central Highlands. Inspired by the nature, culture and people there, he decided to do something for the region. He finished the song in 1970.
Since then many singers have performed it, such as Mang Thi Hoi from the Bana ethnic group.
“I only write songs when I’m in a good mood. I want to transmit my optimistic spirit to listeners. Music never stops in my mind, just as my heart never stops loving. Now, I’m old and have no lover but I still love life and nature,” he said. “If you don’t love anything I believe that you can’t be happy.”
The composer has set many other poems to music, creating popular songs.
“Composer Phan Huynh Dieu is very successful when he sets poems to music. The combination touches the depths of the soul,” said composer Tran Long An.
Tonight, Dieu wants his songs to be sung by young performers.
“I want to keep my music alive. And I want my spiritual offspring to be fresh and have a new appearance,” he said.
The show will be broadcast live at 8.30pm on HCM Television’s channel 9.