Rice drum but no longer Rice drum
There are songs that have been sung over and over again, but each analysis of the lyrics can make people ask big questions. A typical example is the rice drum song with a familiar mischievous and witty melody:
1. What is a group of mourners? Kid, kid, kid or kid, which one is right?
First, we need to explain the meaning of each word:
- The herring bird (also known as the black herring bird) resembles a bird in water fields, has green feathers, a red beak, and often eats rice (Vietnamese dictionary by Hoang Phe).
- The stink bug is a species of half-winged beetle, with a five-cornered body and a stinger that sucks tree sap and secretes a very foul-smelling substance.
- Child: "Huynh Tinh Cua's autobiography (1895) defines the word Nit (Nom script) as child."
- Child: Génibrel dictionary (1898) has the word Nhiet (Northern local word) meaning child. This word Nhiet (child) is not in other dictionaries. Nit and Nhiet have the same meaning and have the same sound (Nêt). Nhit (North) or Nit (South) are the same thing.
Professor Tran Van Khe, when recording the lyrics of the song "Rice Drum" by a famous mandarin singer named Ly Tien Thanh, from Bai Uyen, Bac Ninh, also wrote that he was a child.
Researcher Nguyen Du, author of the book Rekindling the Ancient Line, chose the word child because of its compatibility with the word wading in the South-North dialect (See detailed explanation in the comments section).
Writer Nguyen Xuan Hung wrote that: there is a story that the rice drum song is a celebration of a pregnant woman. When using the tambourine, you should wear it on your stomach. The woman must wear this drum for 9 months and 10 days. When they heard the sound of the drum, these children came from nothingness and waded through the river of life to find the woman's drum.
Although there is still a lot of controversy, currently cultural and music experts are still leaning towards the child/child answer. However, people are still singing the song according to the current version.
2. Love equals having a rice drum. What is equal love?
To understand the meaning of this sentence, we will try to separate the word "by" to analyze and put it into the context of the song.
"Equity" can be understood in the sentence "Parents raise their children like heaven and earth, children who raise their parents count the months and days". However, after that comes the verb "to have/have a tambourine". It is absolutely impossible to understand "equal love" in this sense.
The word flat in "The wind that carries the wind has left the sea" (Excerpt from Truyen Kieu). According to Nguyen Du, the dragon is a large bird with the ability to fly far and high over the sea, often used to compare it to heroic men. If so, it would be "the love of a bird is equal to a tambourine", causing confusion and not having much relevance to the overall song.
The word equal in "Rely on, be sure to go there to testify: I owe this to you, Oral statements have no proof, Take a piece of paper as proof", according to Vietnam Dictionary (1931). There is that tambourine as proof that "someone skillfully tapped it".
If we look further at the story of the pregnant woman mentioned above, the image of the "rice drum" could be evidence of something that happened. Can be considered and understood in this sense.
Singing on the tambourine but not returning to the tambourine. The song's lyrics sound cheerful and simple, but contain the composer's thoughtful thoughts.