Magical Nights compiles recordings from 1964 to 1966, her final years singing. It is a testament to Vietnam’s embrace of rock. The music initially trickled into the French high schools, a legacy of colonial rule, then later via the Americans – a growing presence since the 1950s, as the Vietnam war escalated. In South Vietnam, performing foreign music was permitted but recording it was not, given that all cultural products were vetted by the authorities. But the influence of foreign music could not be quashed, so composers began writing Vietnamese songs in styles including the twist, surf, hully gully and mashed potato. All this music was known locally as nhac kich dong (action music).
Magical Nights: Saigon Surf, Twist & Soul 1964-1966 is out now on Sublime Frequencies