The poem Bánh Trôi Nước (Floating Cake) composed by Hồ Xuân Hương has been passing on from generations to generations, describing the general life of a typical Vietnam woman as her life is slowly floating just like the floating cake, bearing with so many things to accomplish. Recently, it has been turned into a song with hints of both traditional and modern music, performed by singer Hoàng Thùy Linh and her producer Triple D.
Speaking about the poem itself, it contains only 4 sentences. As a whole, it emphasizes a lot of spectrum of a woman’s life. Back then, life in Vietnam was really tough and women did not have much opportunity to learn and work. These lines are written as follows:
“Thân em vừa trắng là vừa tròn
Bảy nồi ba chìm với nước non
Rắn nát mặc dầu tay kẻ nặn
Mà em vẫn giữ tấm lòng son”
In English translation, it’s as follows:
“My body is white; my fate, softly rounded,
rising and sinking like mountains in streams.
Whatever way hands may shape me,
at center my heart is red and true.”
The first line strongly lands on the physical and inner beauty of a Vietnamese woman, just like the shape of the floating cake. As for the next two sentences, they switch to describe the bearing and difficult life of Vietnamese women: she’s been through ups and downs, highs and lows. She’s been through so much pain and hardship in order to keep the whole entire family peaceful and fruitful. At the end of the poem, it shows that no matter what happens or how much she’s experienced through life, her soul still remains as pure and truthful.
Later on, The Floating Cake is an inspiration to a song with the same name performed by Hoàng Thùy Linh and Triple D. It’s a fusion of both traditional Vietnamese music with their instruments and melody, along with a hint of electronic music. But still, the song stays on point and it doesn’t go off with an electronic touch without losing the authentic Vietnamese feel. Without further ado, enjoy the song and let’s see what you think!
English translation taken from: http://ttvnol.com/threads/vietnamese-english-poems-ho-xuan-huong.141108/