Yes, I really mean of its color as most of music types in Vietnam start with a color like that, they are not kind of ‘word – play’, they are really got the meaning according to their contents. Green considers as Pop, the red is for revolutionary songs, brown stands for folk music and yellow is a special, really special.
There are still existing arguments about its name; someone stated that yellow in Vietnamese means gold or gold music. Other group explained differently, yellow in Vietnamese is also meant as ‘sadness’ or ‘weaknesses’. I think both are correct, both are well described this type of music in Vietnam.
Yellow music (Nhạc Vàng) firstly was popular in south of Vietnam since around 60s, it expresses strongly about life, relationship and much related to the war with gentle tunes and meaningful in lyrics. The success of yellow music is from its simplicity and personalization that made it stay so close to working class people. It truly penetrates to social majority.
Yellow music is not for everyone, I have seen quite a few of people even hate it. The songs mostly reflect to personal people feeling (mostly as sad), separation, social disappointment or war protestation. That’s reason why it was banned in north of Vietnam as it was likely against the communist ideals. Until now there are number of songs are still not allowed to perform in public communication. However, yellow music is still the most popular music in Vietnam with its own intensity life, undeniable!
Vietnamese people like singing; I don’t know why most of our songs are sad, and likely the song without sadness will not be popular. Is it reflected to the country that most of history sunken on wars, there were too many separations in Vietnamese community during the wars that made our music background that sad? I don’t know, maybe but the fact that yellow music helps people live better, rise a true voice for society on behalf of working people class without any barrier of culture or politic.
The best way to get popular to Vietnamese is singing a song with them, in Vietnamese will be impressive, popular Vietnamese pop song you may get heap of friends, and if you able to sing a yellow song, well, you will get a crowd. Trust me!
Now, it’s time for break, let me introduce you a typical Vietnamese yellow music song. Sorry that I can’t make any translations, and maybe you also don’t want to know what it is, because it will be too sad to your lovely Vietnamese vacation.