Singer-songwriter Đồng Lan studied at the American School of Modern Music in Paris. She wanted to be a teacher before she won the top award at a French Singing Contest in 2008. She later appeared on Giọng Hát Việt (The Voice of Việt Nam) and she is popular for singing French songs. She is currently carrying out the music project Redmoon about women. Tiền Phong (Vanguard) newspaper reporter Nguyễn Mạnh Hà spoke to her about the new project.
How did the project Redmoon get started?
I grew up at a time when beauty pageants highlighted the standards of Vietnamese women. They had four virtues, housekeeping skills, beauty, appropriate speech and moral conduct.
I saw there were many unhappy women around me. They would make sacrifices for their husbands and their children. When their marriage had problems, they stayed silent because they didn’t want to be judged by society. Society still praises and encourages women to make sacrifices for their families.
Many women think they are responsible to make their husbands happy, even pretending to be satisfied in their marriage.
I think that life is long and women are like flowers. They need to be cared for and they need to love themselves. They should not waste their life.
What is Redmoon about?
Redmoon includes stories of women raising questions about the expectations to get married and give birth, what makes women happy and even the women who feel they have been born in the wrong body.
Redmoon includes several indie jazz songs I composed. I will combine Vietnamese traditional music with western music. Some eastern prejudices need to be eliminated but there are good things that I want to preserve. I will add in the songs western thoughts that personally I think are good.
The song lyrics will be in Vietnamese, French and English. I will show the connection between the universe and the woman in this project.
What difficulties did you encounter with this project because of the pandemic?
The past two years have been challenging for the whole world. I really miss being on stage. I was not able to get extra income.
I was lucky to get support from my colleagues, my family and my friends. Art and cultural activities are beginning to resume. I want to burn off all the energy that I have kept bottled up for a long time.
When I told my teacher about the project, he gave me advice and worked with me. He is the director of the school where I’m studying. He plays guitar for French popular singers including Vanessa Paradis.
What gave you the inspiration to write the songs for the project?
I spent time researching women. It is difficult to understand women and sometimes I don’t even know myself so I don’t think men can.
I read documents about women’s bodies, watched films and read about women. I even learned sword dancing for the music video Redmoon.
The project is not to fight for women’s rights. I want to respect women and write about social prejudice. I don’t want to argue. I think all things should just take their natural course and I do not want to interfere. I think women shouldn’t have to ask for their rights.
The songs are from my experiences and my observations. I observe the women and their lives. Even my dreams help me compose the songs. I created this project using my sixth sense.
I want to have a new angle helping women to be more confident and more strong. I always want to say to myself and other women that we don’t need to hide our desires. — VNS