Why ‘The South Lands’? The nation of Australia derives its name from the Latin word ‘Australis’, denoting European legends of a great land mass at the southern end of the world. This is similar to the word ‘Nam’ in Vietnam, meaning ‘south’, creating the common bond of both countries as the ‘South Lands’.

Floyd & Mademoiselle at state banquet. This photo was taken at the state banquet of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc for Prime Minister Morrison, the very first day Floyd and Mademoiselle met each other in person. 

The folk/rock album incorporates both European instruments like guitar and keyboards, as well as Vietnamese instruments such as the Dan bau and the Cong chieng.

Opening instrumental track ‘6, Ngo hoi vu’ is named after the address of music venue the Hanoi Social Club, where both musicians have performed and through which they were introduced by the Club’s owner. Floyd and Mademoiselle met in person for the first time in August 2019, only hours before their debut performance at a state banquet hosted by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc to welcome Australia’s Prime Minister Morrison.

Lead single ‘Let it shine’ was co-written by both artists. Floyd wrote the song as a message of hope for all people struggling with sadness. Mademoiselle added her Vietnamese lyrics after the deaths of 39 Vietnamese people in a shipping container in England. She says, ‘I was shocked to know that something like that exists. As a person who has claustrophobia, I imagined how it would have been if I was one of them and my answer was “I would think of sunlight and Vietnam.”’

Floyd wrote ‘Mary comes to Camberlea’ from his experience of singing in nursing homes. Camberlea was a nursing home he uses to pass by as a child in Melbourne, Australia. Floyd says, ‘The song describes the relationship between a woman visiting her disabled son, and how she loves and cares for him even though he can't communicate with her. It's very moving to watch them together.’

Mademoiselle wrote ‘Close your eyes and count to three’ after her first ever break up, and says, ‘At that time, I felt deeply sad and it helped me somehow understand my parents when they divorced. After that, my bitterness about their separation faded and I felt a sense of forgiveness.’

Floyd & Mademoiselle in Hanoi  at the Long Bien Railway Station.

Floyd wrote ‘Since you came to me’ on the shores of Truc Bach in Hanoi a few days after his performance with Mademoiselle at the Prime Ministerial banquet. He wrote it thinking of a loved one back home in Australia who he was missing.

Reported by Hoang Linh