Viet Nam News
HCM CITY—Glitterbeat, a branch of the German-based company Glitterhouse Records, has released a new album in Europe that features traditional Vietnamese music.
The album, Hanoi Masters: War is a Wound, Peace is a Scar, features folk and traditional songs in xẩm (folk music popular in the north) and chầu văn (ritual singing) written by unknown artisans and veteran musicians like Phó Đức Phương.
It is produced by American producer Ian Brennan and musician and zitherest Võ Vân Ánh, known as Vanessa Vo, who has composed soundtracks for several Oscar and Emmy nominees.
The album features Ánh and traditional performers such as Phạm Mộng Hải, Nguyễn Thị Lạn, Xuân Hoạch, Võ Tuấn Minh and Nguyễn Quốc Hùng.
The artists play traditional instruments, such as the đàn tranh (16-chord zither), đàn nguyệt (Vietnamese two-chord guitar) and đàn bầu (monochord).
In her interview with the Guardian, Ánh said the music on the album reflects the hearts and minds of artists who lived during war and understand the value of peace.
Ánh was born in Hà Nội but lives in California. She began studying đàn tranh when she was 4. She graduated from the Việt Nam Academy of Music in Hà Nội and taught there later.
She is a professional đàn bầu, đàn tam thập lục (36-string zither) and đàn T’rưng (bamboo xylophone) player. She also plays the drums.
She co-composed and recorded for the 2009 Emmy Award-winning soundtrack of the documentary Bolinao 52, a production on Vietnamese boat people by Vietnamese-American director Đức Nguyễn, and for the 2003 Academy Awards nominee Daughter from Danang, a documentary about the life of Mai Thị Hiệp, one of the children brought to the US from Việt Nam in 1975 during Operation Babylift.
The album will be introduced at the World of Music, Arts and Dance-WOMAD in London next month. /VNS