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the project

Imagine a country whose instrumental heritage includes a thousand–year-old, one–string precursor to the electric guitar: a country where you can play a percussion instrument without actually touching it; a country where one-hole flutes and strange rifle–shaped mouth harps are more common than a piano. Imagine a country whose history and music have been shaped by struggles with Chinese, French, Japanese, and American invasions. You might expect this country's music to be wildly colorful, exotic, and complex—and you would be right. The Music of Vietnam offers listeners a rare opportunity to sample the remarklable variety of traditional Vietnamese music: from ensemble works with a clear Chinese influence to solo pieces for the odd instruments of Vietnam's many tribal minorities.

Volumes 1.1 and 1.2 of The Music of Vietnam focus on the traditional music of the Vietnamese people themselves, as opposed to the folk music of the ethnic groups that live in Vietnam's highlands and plateaus. Within the Vietnamese tradition there are many surprisees. Works that draw on the trance and percussion music of ancient Buddhist healers appear alongside old Vietnamese theater folk ensembles, but others are definitely a product of musicians who have studied Western classical and pop music. Familiar chord progressions may grace a souther Vietnamese harvest song, while another work based on religious ritual music may have an acoustic funk backbeat, thanks to the subtle and energetic tradition of Vietnamese percussion.

For Western listeners, especially those for whom Vietnam signifies a war and nothing more, The Music of Vietnam will be an ear–opening experience.

the artists

The multi-talented performers on both Volumes 1.1 and 1.2 are based in Hanoi, and several are on the staff of the Hanoi Conservatory of Music. These recordings represent the first time this all–star lineup actually performed together as a whole. Pham Can Ty served as musical director for these recordings, and performs on the recordings as a lute soloist, singer, and percussionist.

These recordings are produced by David Parsons, who once again utilizes his extensive experience recording Asian music. Parsons is also a talented composer and musician.


1 Cung Dan Dat Nuoc (Melody of the Country) 4'43"
2 Nho'em (I Miss You) 3'12"
3 Anh Van Hanh Quan (You're Marching On) 2'04"
4 Ly Hoai Nam (Remembering the South) 5'19"
5 Tu Dai Oan (Four Great Sorrows) 4'39"
6 Doc Con Xa (religious ritual music) 4'08"
7 Qua Cau Gio Bay (Breeze Over the Bridge) 3'41"
8 Canh Chim Bao Tin Vui (Bird Bringing Good News) 2'35"
9 Dem Tay Nguyen (Night in Tay Nguyen) 5'38"
10 Ru Con Nam Bo (Nam Bo Lullaby) 4'24"
11 Que Ta (My Village) 4'18"
12 Ly Giao Duyen (folksong from southern Vietnam) 4'24""
13 Qua Song (Crossing the River) 3'04"
14 Ke Chuyen Ngay Mua (A Harvesting Song) 6'16"
15 Tren Duong Chien Thang (On the Road to Victory) 2'11"
16 Tro Ve Tay Nguyen (Coming Home to Tay Nguyen) 3'57"
17 Vi Mien Nam (For Southern People) 3'24"
18 Huong Sen Dong Thap (The Scent of the Dong Thap Lotus) 5'32"
  Total Time: 74'42"