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East and West came together at L’Espace on “The Windy Days”
Last weekend was such a nutty weekend in Hanoi with loads of stunning events that might keep anyone feeling guilty if they just missed any of them. I myself had to make some hard decisions which one to attend but at least I felt so lucky that I didn’t miss “The Windy Days” performance, which happened to be one of my favourite music shows ever.
The music was brilliant and the meaning conveyed in the performance was delightful. It was the first time I had attended a performance linking Vietnamese traditional music and Western instruments! And I was left totally amazed and deeply touched. It was simply a great combination of East and West, not just the musical instruments (violins, cello, percussion, saxophone and đàn nhị playing together), the musicians (French, Vietnamese, and Vietnamese-French), the languages, but also the dressing style, everything was mixed in such a harmony that made people find it difficult to distinguish clearly East or West, French or Vietnamese.
Going across the performance was a bit of Jazz, a glance of Latin, some spice of Pop, a little Classical Opera, and also featuring many Vietnamese Folk genres (quan họ, chèo, cải lương). Everything was combined perfectly and each artist also had enough space to perform their own excellent improvisation.
The Saigon-born French singer, Huong Thanh, took the stage in her charming Ao Dai with velvety voice and the gentle folk rhythm from all parts of Vietnam accompanied by the creative saxophone of Pierre Diaz, violins and cello by the talented Trio Zéphyr, percussion by Alex Tran and the two đàn nhị of Nguyen Thu Thuy and Nguyen The Dan.
Besides the sweet folk songs, I was also very much impressed by the powerful and wonderful solo percussion session from Alex Tran; the beautiful classical voice of Trio Zéphyr with Marion Diaques leading the night and the very lovely duet of saxophone and a quite unpopular traditional bamboo-shaped instrument that I didn’t manage to figure out its name.
The second last piece was a very famous quan họ song “Người ở đừng về” (Please stay, don’t leave) which best described how the audience were feeling – everyone was so excited with the performance and did not want it to end. And the last song was a happy marching improvisation that made everyone smile cheerfully, clap hands and swing with the melody.
I can’t really find the correct word to describe how much I was in love with this music show. Thanks to the French people for coming to Vietnam and especially thanks to Huong Thanh for bringing traditional Vietnamese music to the world and getting it known and appreciated.
Check out their performance on Youtube:
|Pham Hoang Mien has been with Hanoi Grapevine for sometime, mainly involved in social media and occasional translation. As an enthusiastic music lover, now she wants to challenge herself in a new role – being a columnist writing about music and musicians for the site.|