Vietnamese strings strike strong chord in Washington

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A Washington audience several hundred strong were entranced Monday night (Vietnam time) as Vietnamese artists performed the dan tranh and dan bau, string instruments typical to the country.


The performance covered music from all three regions in the country, starting with Cheo traditional operetta from the North, going on to royal songs from Hue and concluding with nhac tai tu (music for amateurs) that is popular in the southern region.


Nguyen Thanh Thuy, a lecturer of traditional music instruments at the Hanoi Conservatory of Music played the dan tranh a 16-chord zither, while Ngo Tra My played dan bau, a monochord which has the string fastened at one end to a peg and at the other to a flexible bamboo plate.


Both artists are well known performers. My and Thuy played several duets and amazed the audience.


Bill Kimsey, watching the performance at American University, said Vietnamese traditional music highlighted the country's spiritual culture.


Ngo Tra My, who was performing the dan bau for the first time in the US, said she wanted to make overseas Vietnamese think about Vietnam and remember Vietnam. She also wanted to make foreigners understand Vietnam better and know that they are welcome in the country.


The performance was co-organized by the Vietnamese Embassy in the US and the US-based Institute of Vietnamese Culture and Education. It was a rare performance of  Vietnamese traditional music in the US capital.

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