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Ha Noi gets an Argentine treat

Update: April, 24/2014 - 11:20
Wine of choice: Expats taste Malbec wine at the Cinematango event held in Ha Noi on Tuesday night by the Argentinean Embassy to celebrate World Malbec Day. — VNS Photo Thai Ha

by Le Huong

It goes without saying that mentions of Malbec wine and tango rhythms instantly conjure up thoughts of Argentina.

Both of these iconic offerings from the exotic south American country were on display for visitors attending an event marking World Malbec Day, hosted by the Argentinean Embassy in Ha Noi on Tuesday night.

The event attracted more than 100 expats and Hanoians, who indulged in the opportunity to taste authentic Malbec wine and view a multimedia show titled "Cinematango", complete with a live performance by a group of international musicians led by noted Argentine composer Osvaldo Montes.

The one-hour show included two sections. First, guests were treated to music from more than ten movies directed by Argentine, Colombian, Venezuelan and Chilean directors. They later witnessed a rhythmic tango tribute to classic films including The Thomas Crawn Affair by John Mc Tiernan, Love Story by Arthur Hiller and The Godfather by Francis Fod Coppola.

"I'm an Argentine, so I understand tango more than anyone else," Montes told Viet Nam News, adding: "I have tried to re-compose original melodies in the movies with tango. It's a way to express the movies' original musical souls through tango."

Montes added he often used instruments from different parts of the world to enhance his tango pieces.

Montes' performance also included a piece from movie Mua He Chieu Thang Dung (The Vertical Ray of Summer) by Vietnamese director Tran Anh Hung in the first part of the concert as a rare treat for Vietnamese audience members.

"I watched the film at a film festival in Montreal a few years ago," he recalled. "I did not remember much the content of the film, but I was impressed with the main song [Cuoi Cung Cho Mot Tinh Yeu (The End of A Love) by composer Trinh Cong Son]. My cover piece of the song lasts around 1.5 minutes and I spent less than three days composing it."

Montes' group performed the pieces [Cinematango concert] earlier this month as part of the Hue Festival and at a wine tasting function to celebrate World Malbec Day in Hue City on April 19. The composer received rapturous applause from audiences for his debut performance in Viet Nam.

"Hue Festival was lots of fun," he said, adding: "I met many artists from other cultures. I think Vietnamese [people] are very friendly and frequently have smiles on their faces."

Montes confessed that visiting different countries inspired his compositions. He was especially surprised with Viet Nam's large variety of traditional string instruments and was intrigued by ca Hue's (Hue folk singing) "beautiful" and "expressive" melodies.

"I will bring home from Viet Nam a bamboo flute as a souvenir to enrich my collection of traditional instruments from where I have been to," he added.

Montes is a well-regarded composer, producer, an award-winning artist in the Hispanic and Canadian film industries. He began his carrier as a musician in Latin-American folklore in Argentina and Europe in the 1970's with icons like Los Calchakis and Mercedes Sosa.

Montes has scored more than 40 features, 30 TV series and soup operas, several short pieces and documentaries, theater pieces and concerts such as Cinematango and Music in Images.

Montes' most recent work includes an Argentine feature Omision produced with renowned film director Marcelo Pez, and a FOX-produced documentary series about drug lord Gonzalo Rodriguez Gacha, However, he is most renowned for The Dark Side of Heart, a project he composed with film director Eliseo Subiela.

World famous

"Argentina is one of the top wine producers in the world with its most famous wine being Malbec, made from a Malbec grape variety farmed in favourable weather and arable soil of Mendoza region," said Claudio R Gutierrez, Argentinian ambassador to Viet Nam.

"Malbec World Day [April 17th] is an international celebration dedicated to Argentina's Malbec signature grape."

Ambassador Gutierrez said this was the second time Malbec Day had been organised in Viet Nam, adding that it would be organised annually to promote Argentine wine in the country.

"When Vietnamese people drink Malbec wine, they will not only find it tasty but also sense the soul of Argentine people," the ambassador said.

He also noted that bilateral trade between the two countries had made positive development.

Viet Nam currently imports soya and wood from Argentina and exports footwear and clothing to the south American nation. Argentina is also preparing to promote exports of powdered milk, meat products, cooking oil and medicines to Viet Nam, while planning to import more seafood from Viet Nam. — VNS

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