Up Lê Toàn s Journey (continued)


THE JOURNEY © 1999 LeToan Music

Over the years, I have been the subject of quite a few articles, written in tandem with the release of my albums or during preparations for a show. People seem genuinely interested in my music background and activities. With the advent of the internet and the power it has of reaching an even wider audience, I thought it might be a good idea to disclose some of my contributions in the music field. It might not be possible to remember all the details but I'll try to do the best I can, in my own words. There may be some discrepancies in the dates. 

My brother Lê Trí started playing in a band, I think around 1965. We loved to listen to bands like The Beatles and The Shadows. I asked him to teach me guitar and drums. Being a kid, I liked to sit and bang on the drums until I got yelled at. But when I picked the guitar, magic started to happen. The first song my brother taught me how to play was "Sleep Walk". I would practice and practice until I got it right. And I did not give up on piano either; whatever my sisters learned in the afternoon, I would try to pick up, only by listening. I had a good memory and can remember great lengths of melodies, but I hated to read music.

I learned how to play violin when I was 12. It took me a long time to convert the noise into a certain sound. As I'm sure you know, the violin is the hardest instrument to learn. After 2 long years of agony, my mom finally gave up on me. At the same time, all my sisters were taking piano lessons with teacher Nghiêm Phú Phi. And every week I had to hear the same tunes over and over. I started to recognize the tunes and in no time, I found myself playing the same songs without referring to the book. I went on to take just a few lessons with Mr. Nghiêm, and I can't remember why I stopped. I took up Tae Kwon Do; my best sport was Ping-Pong and swimming, and I was darn good with diving, up to the point that I developed a pretty bad sinus infection. After a while, however, I gave up everything for music.

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