The Marvels of Vietnamese Music

Various Artists

The Rough Guide To The Music Of Vietnam (RGNET1183CD, 2007)

Some compilations provide true discoveries. Such is the case of The Rough Guide to the Music of Vietnam. Very little Vietnamese music makes it to the West. A handful of exiled musicians do their best, but their exposure is very limited.

The Rough Guide to the Music of Vietnam opens a window to the music of Vietnam, including some of its most popular singers, and its diaspora. The artists featured are Huong Thanh, Than Quy, Cam Ly, Blue Asia, Thu Hien, Kim Sinh, Khac Chi Ensemble, Tranh Sáo Bao, Huy Du, Tuyet Tring, Nguyen Thanh Thuy, Vân Khánh, Quang Linh, Chau Dinh & Ca Hue Ensemble, and Dàn Bao Viêtnam.

The styles included in the compilation range from traditional Vietnamese folk music to pop and more adventurous sounds like the fascinating bluesy piece by Blue Asia. 

One instrument that attracts the listeners attention is the dan bao, a wondrous one-stringed instrument that sounds similar to slide guitar. Other native instruments used are the sixteen-stringed dan tranh, the sao truc (bamboo flute) and the tam thap luc (dulcimer).

The Rough Guide to the Music of Vietnam was compiled by Paul Fisher, founder of Far Side Music, the leading specialist in music from East Asia. He is also a DJ and broadcaster. The album contains a data track that includes an interview with Fisher and travel information from The Rough Guide To Vietnam book.

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Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites and Angel produced several specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for TelevisiĆ³n EspaƱola (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music and electronic music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Mindchild Records. Angel is currently based in Durham, North Carolina.