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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Thanh Lan

Thanh Lan (1948-     ) is a famous Vietnamese singer and actress who had been an iconic pop music superstar of South Vietnam, mostly known for her interpretations of French popular music.  Born in Vinh, Nghe An, Vietnam, Thanh Lan graduated from the prestigious Marie Curie High School in Saigon.  After graduating from high school, she went on to graduate from the University of Saigon, School of Literature in 1973.  Thanh Lan began her music career from the early age of 9 when she was taken under the wings of musicians Tham Oanh and Nghiem Phu Phi who guided her on her beginnings on the road to fame.  While still in high school, she appeared regularly on VTVN Radio as part of the group, Viet Nhi, directed by Nguyen Duc.  From 1967 to 1968, Thanh Lan appeared on Truyen Hinh Sai Gon singing folkloric Vietnamese music.  In college, Thanh Lan gained national fame as a singer of popular music.  In 1970, she starred in her first motion picture, Tieng Hat Hoc Tro.  In 1973, she toured Japan with musicians Ngoc Chanh and Pham Duy where her recordings of the songs, Tuoi Biet Buon and Tuoi Mong Mo, were featured at the International Music Festival of Yamaha.  Among Thanh Lan's most popular films prior to the Fall of Saigon include Chan Troi Tim (Purple Horizon) (1971) starring Hung Cuong, Kim Vui, Mong Tuyen and Ngoc Duc, Le Da (Tears of a Stone) (1971), Ganh Hang Hoa (Carried Load of Flowers) (1972), both starring La Thoai Tan, Xin Dung Bo Em (Please Don't Desert Me) (1973) starring Tham Thuy Hang, and Number Ten Blues (1975), later renamed as Goodbye Saigon upon its re-release in 2014, a Japanese film directed by acclaimed filmmaker Norio Osada.  Goodbye Saigon was featured at the Vietnam International Film Festival held on April 12, 2014 in Orange County, California.

Thanh Lan in her film debut, Tieng Hat Tuoi Hoc Tro (1970)
After 1975, Thanh Lan continued with both her careers in music and films for many years.  From 1984 until 1987, she replaced actress Thuy An in the role portrayal of Thuy Dung in the last five sequels of the wildly successful movie series, Van Bai Lat Ngua, starring opposite Nguyen Chanh Tin.  In 1990, she was cast as leading actress in Ben Kia Man Suong, a Vietnamese-American produced movie directed by Le Tuan and costarred singer/actress Nhat Ha.  In 1993, Thanh Lan starred in another movie produced and directed by Le Tuan, Tinh Nguoi, which costarred overseas Vietnamese singer ZaZa Minh Thao.  Prior to leaving her homeland, Thanh Lan was enjoying a thriving singing career with a full nightly performing schedule at major venues in Ho Chi Minh City such as the Rex Hotel, Nha Hat Thanh Pho (Saigon Opera House), Hoa Binh Municipal Theater and the Caravelle.  She was also recording for various major record labels in Vietnam like Ben Thanh Audio, Saigon Audio and Vafaco.  Then at the end of 1993 Thanh Lan traveled to the United States for what had been planned originally as a brief tour would ultimately lead to her seeking political asylum at beginning of the year in 1994.  She has since remained active as a pop music performer in the overseas Vietnamese community and continues to be in high demand to this day.


Among Thanh Lan's most popular songs have included Tinh Thien Thu, Khi Xua Ta Be (Bang Bang), Em Dep Nhat Dem Nay (La Plus Belle Pour Aller Danser), Trung Vuong Khung Cua Mua Thu (Tell Laura I Love Her), Tinh Yeu Oi Tinh Yeu (Oh Mon Amour) and Mua Dong Cua Anh, in which she had recorded as a duet with legendary singer / songwriter Nhat Truong.  Since resettling in the United States, she has continued with numerous audio recordings and video appearances in collaboration with some of the biggest overseas Vietnamese production labels such as May Productions, Thuy Anh, Diem Xua, Lang Van, Asia Entertainment and Thuy Nga Paris.  Among Thanh Lan's most memorable appearances on the Paris By Night stage during the 1990s were her performances of several Pham Duy-penned songs like Con Quy Lay Chua Tren Troi, Tra Lai Em Yeu, Ky Vat Cho Em and Chiec Bong Ben Duong.  To date, her last appearance on Paris By Night was on volume 50 in 1999 where she performed a duet medley of popular French love songs with Elvis Phuong.  Thanh Lan has appeared on video performing similar medleys of popular French love songs known as Lien Khuc Nhac Phap for Asia Entertainment on three other volumes of the live show series.  Perhaps the most well received of these French medleys partaken by Thanh Lan was in 1996 as part of a trio with two other iconic French-language Vietnamese singers, Jo Marcel and Julie Quang.  In 2008, she would team up with Paulo Tuan to repeat the same theme, a medley of French torch songs, and again in 2012 as a trio alongside Sy Dan and Vu Tuan Duc.

Thanh Lan was once married and divorced while in Saigon during the early 1970s.  A daughter had come from that marriage, whom she affectionately had given the nickname, "Boo".  Sometime after Thanh Lan's resettlement to the United States, Boo, then already a young adult, also made the decision to leave Vietnam and take up permanent residence in Australia.

Link(s):

50 Most Beautiful Vietnamese Women of All Time
Thanh Lan on Facebook

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