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Ha Phuong & Huong Thuy – Em Di Tren Co Non

Composer: Bac Son
English Title: I Walk Upon the Green Grass
Translated By: Gigi

I walk upon the growing, green grass that's hugging the road beside the river shore
I cover my face by tilting my palm-leaf hat as my feet shuffle across the bamboo bridge
My home is located on the outskirts of the citadel: a village of cottage houses
I tread across many rivers and overcome many mountain passes
Even if I have to climb many hills as high as many mountains, I still visit my homeland

I forgot the names of the claws-shaped vegetables growing at the edge of the veranda
But I cannot forget the coconut trees where water droplets drip from during rain
My father took me to school toward the faraway school building
My feet were still small that I was scared they would become muddy,
So my father knelt down and picked me up saying, "I'll give you a horseback ride."

Gray, smoke-gray like the bottom of clouds, so I asked, "Is it the mist of clouds?"
White, a dress so white, who was it that walked so hurriedly, that innocent figure?

A ray of sunlight dying the village golden
A gust of wind blows causing a white pomelo flower to drop
I just felt something like compassion
It passed through a worn road that I haven't acquainted with

I haven't walked upon the green grass nor felt the cool feeling underneath my feet
I haven't walked across parts of the river nor had the chance to see sceneries yesterday
I haven't loved outside of the citadel, not until I can hear my heart beating fast
The time my parents met was loving similar to how the rice fields awaited for alluvium.

Translator's Notes: The song is written in first-person form, and this Vietnamese first-person noun would typically indicate a girl is the narrator. This is one of the many traditional Vietnamese songs, it falls under "Dan Ca" and the theme is one's homeland. Dan Ca songs are usually sung by female singers.

(1) The composer mentioned "voi vin" in 3rd to last line and it's something that's a little hard to translate into English, in the sense that it can't be put into two words or less. What it is, is a part of the river where there's a patch of land (looks like a small island) and it would curl out like an elephant's trunk. And water around that patch of land would also swirl around like an elephant's trunk. I guess a part worth noting is that the word "voi" in "voi vin" means elephant by itself. So I just translated it as scenery.

(2) Last line refers to how every season, alluvium (water sediments) would wash ashore from the stream and this would nurture the rice fields. The rice fields do depend on this kind of dirt to nourish it. So the composer uses this as a metaphor, comparing the fondness of time the parents met to the fondness the rice fields have for the alluvium.

In the middle of the song, the two singers go into a "cai luong" that was not part of the original lyrics. It's still something to enjoy nonetheless. I did not translate the "cai luong" part though.

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  1. I think the first note about the river is probably an Oxbow bend…

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