Saigon Supersound

24/05/2018A Selection Of Vietnamese Funk, Soul & Latin From 1965-1975

About a year ago, in 2017, we issued a newsletter to our subscribers introducing a special musical project, which remains highly relevant and which we believe needs to be included in our online archive of extraordinary finds. Said project is the result of Frankfurt-based DJ, label head and electronic music pioneer Jan Hagenkötter's tireless efforts to put together a selection of tracks representing the so-called "Golden Era" of popular music in South Vietnam, where – under difficult circumstances – a veritable music scene flourished. That is until the large exodus of artists in April 1975, which put an end to the South Vietnamese music industry.

"'Saigon Supersound' is the story of a musical era that was almost lost," reads the first line of the project's liner notes. "This collection focuses on the South, where under 'imported' western influence a new kind of pop and rock music had developed. [...] The remaining bits and pieces were seen as 'decadent' by the communists, were disgraced and maginalized and ultimately disappeared from everyday life. Records surviving from this era are often in a sad and pitiful state, heavily scratched and full of dust so deeply engrained in the grooves as to render them virtually unplayable. [...] Nevertheless, the songs persist. Particularly among the many Vietnamese who fled their homeland these songs became classics or even hymns that were re-recorded again and again in the diaspora."

During a one-year stay in Ho-Chi-Minh City in 2011/12 and with the help of friends Jan Hagenkötter eventually proceeded to research and collect this pre-war era music, buying vinyl singles from around the world in an attempt to restore one good recording from several sources or sometimes recording directly from original reel to reel tapes, and finally put together this amazing compilation of South Vietnamese productions that clearly reveal elements from western popular music and imported styles, i.e. latin, rock or soul. Music, that "in all its simplicity, speaks directly to the hearts and souls of people". You can buy/stream the Saigon Supersound compilation from the INFRAcom! Bandcamp page, check the official trailer or just tune in via the YouTube playlist of all 18 tracks below. Also, click the SoundCloud player above for an exclusive Supersound blues mix by Jan Hagenkötter himself.

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom