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European music festival plays to the tune of ‘unity in diversity'

Update: November, 12/2015 - 10:26
Old school rockin': The Blue Star Ensemble from Czech Republic will perform dance and swing music of the 1930s and 1940s at the European Music Festival. — Photo coutersy of European Union.
HA NOI  (VNS) — The 14th European Music Festival will begin on November 18 in Ha Noi and HCM City, with performances by established artists from eight European countries and a Vietnamese guest band.

In Ha Noi, the festival will open with a performance by German band Brandt Brauer Frick at Worker Theatre, while Sweden's Tolvan Big Band will perform at the HCM City Conservatory of Music.

Three musicians from the German band will perform in the original line-up of their styles and fuse techno and classic music in an extraordinary way.

The band's performance promises an exciting musical experiment, with a combination of classical instruments such as harp, cello and contrabass and repetitive techno patterns.

The Tolvan Big Band, which will perform in HCM City to open the festival, will be a highlight with its 18 members. This is the largest ever band to perform at the music festival that is held annually in Viet Nam.

"Tolvan" means twelve, but the band has 18 members, such as saxophone and woodwind players, trumpeters, trombonists and a tuba player, besides a pianist, double bass player and drummer.

The band has been led by saxophonist, woodwind player and composer Helge Albin since 1979.

Based in Malmo in southern Sweden, the band became a musical institution with an international reputation under Albin's leadership.

The band has collaborated with notable musicians such as America's Dizzy Gillespie, British composer Mike Westbrook and Danish saxophonist Lars Moller. Over the years, the Tolvan Big Band has released 10 CDs.

The band is the only one to have two shows in Ha Noi on November 20 and 21.

The festival will also see performances by Austrian trio Ulrich Drechsler, The Blue Star Ensemble from the Czech Republic, Hungarian duo Ferenc Snetberger and Paolo Vinaccia, and Polish violinist Voytek Proniewicz, as well as French percussionist Anne Paceo and Wallonie-Bruxelles's Eric Legnini.

Music band Hac San is the only Vietnamese band to be invited to perform at the festival.

"We are glad to appear at the festival with other bands from European countries," the band's guitarist/composer Pham Viet Dung said.

"I think the European Union knows about the Hac San band, thanks to the awards we received at television music shows."

Hac San debuted in 2013 with five members. It was successful in combining progressive metal with Vietnamese folk music to create a unique and bold blend of thrilling western heavy metal and exquisite traditional music of Viet Nam.

During an hour-long show, Hac San will play 10 songs based on the folk music of northern and southern Viet Nam.

The band will perform in HCM City on November 22 and in Ha Noi on November 29 to close the festival.

"The music festival showcases the European Union's strength, its ‘unity in diversity' and more generally, the richness and diversity of European culture," Ambassador Bruno Angelet, head of the Delegation of the European Union in Viet Nam, said.

"It also contributes to better understanding and reciprocal knowledge, thus reinforcing relations between Europe and Viet Nam, especially connecting the two peoples."

Free tickets can be collected from November 16 at Ha Noi's Goethe Institute, 56-58 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street, and L'espace, 24 Trang Tien Street.

In HCM City, tickets will be handed out at Goethe Institute, 18, Road 1, Do Thanh Building, Ward 4, District 3 and IDECAF, 31 Thai Van Lung Street, District 1. — VNS

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