Tuesday, 08/01/2019 15:49

Poet, painter and writer passes away

Composer Nguyen Trong Tao poses for a photo in 2017. — Photo moitruongvadothi.vn
Viet Nam News

HA NOI — Popular poet and composer Nguyen Trong Tao passed away on January 7 after dealing with a lengthy and serious illness. He was 71.

Born in 1947 in Dien Chau, the central province of Nghe An, he joined the army in 1969. In 1976, he was sent to Ha Noi to join a writing camp hosted by the army and study at Nguyen Du Writing School.

From 2000 to 2005, he worked as a member of the Poetry Council at the Viet Nam Writers’ Association. Between 2003 and 2004, he worked as the head of the Poetry Editorial Board of Van Nghe Viet Nam (Viet Nam Literature and Arts) newspaper.

Tao proved to be a talented artist. He showed his ability in literature with dozens of poetry collections, epics, prose collections and essays. He also composed various historical songs, which have been performed widely, and created many paintings.

He is the author of over 400 poems, which have been printed in collections like Gui Nguoi Khong Quen (To the Stranger) and Song Thuy Tinh (Crystal Waves). Many of his poems have been made into popular songs like Mot Dai Kho Mot Toi (A Fool as I’m) by noted composer Phu Quang and Co va Mua (Grass and Rain) by Giang Son.

He also composed nearly 100 songs. Music fans of various ages in Viet Nam will never forget his melodies and meaningful songs like Lang Quan Ho Que Toi (My Homeland – Village of Love Duet Singing) based on a poem by Nguyen Phan Hach; Khuc Hat Song Que (Song of Homeland River) based on a poem by Le Huy Mau and Doi Mat Do Ngang (A Floating Boat), for which he also wrote the lyrics.

He received various prestigious national literature and arts prizes including the Poetry Prize by Van Nghe newspaper and the Literature and Arts Prize from Hue.

In 2012, Tao was awarded the State Prize in Literature for his poetry works Dong Dao Cho Nguoi Lon (Folk Songs for Adults) and Con Duong Cua Nhung Vi Sao (Stars’ Way).

At the end of 2017, Tao was sent to the hospital following a stroke. After 21 days in treatment, he recovered. Few months later, he organised a live show titled Khuc Hat Song Que, gathering thousands of audience.

His health worsened ever since. Last April, he was diagnosed with lung cancer.

Tao has a miracle feeling for music,” noted writer Do Phan, one of Tao’s friends. “He composed songs based on folk melodies. His most popular song Lang Quan Ho Que Toi is based on Bac Ninh’s love duet folk songs.

“The Bac Ninh folk songs have nothing to do with the folk melodies of Nghe Tinh (his homeland),” Phan said. “But his song has been very successful, loved by many Vietnamese people.” — VNS

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