KVT goes Bamboo-ing once again
Cracking Bamboo –the third edition- was really, really really nice (which is an understated way of saying totally that su tuyet voi). As the director of the Goethe Institute said in her prefacing remarks before the music got under way, we were about to hear some interesting, musical landscapes. And they were just that…excellent landscapes for the mind’s eye and engrossing soundscapes for lovers of percussion,World Music, contemporary sound stuff…….
If you’ve lived in Hanoi since 2008 you may have been lucky enough to see all of the Cracking festivals …Two at the Opera House and this year’s in the Youth Theater (all venues packed to the gills) and if you are a percussion aficionado then you probably crammed into the Goethe courtyard for each year’s introductory concert and saw performers from particular countries doing what they do best.
The Cracking Bamboo concert has always prompted rave coments and the 2012 show was no exception . With 31 performers from twelve countries, it had half the number of 2010, and instead of six groups being formed to play new works, we had three …..And what a theatrical and musical treat we got.
A young Vietnamese friend whom I met after the performance-and who’d seen the other two- said it was ‘sophisticated!’ And yes, it was!
It had moments of levity, moments of agility, moments of tension and understated drama….but very rarely ‘look at me aren’t I clever’.
About half the performers were on their second gig with the Bamboo team and their previous experience probably contributed to the intensity of the sounds they made together. Their really flashy stuff was given wonderful free rein the night before at Goethe when they performed individually or in their national groups.
The very experienced, world famous musician- tutors each group was mentored by obviously formed a close empathy with their personal team and the end result of the collaboration were totally original compositions with just the right touch of theater and that utilized the performers’ strengths and idiosyncrasies. The performers used a variety of percussion instruments ……..and incorporated a lone flute, a fabulously contorted tuba, a didgeridoo, computerized sound effects, inventive voice accompaniments, and a nicely understated performance art bit. The teams had five days to come together, coalesce, compose and practice.
Too difficult to have favorites, far too difficult to choose a favorite composition. I’d have had to become a groupie and followed the troupe to TPHCM and take it all in again if I was to rate them.
And what a feat it must have to get the musicians engaged on a lengthy tour, to persuade airlines to carry over a tonne of instruments…….and then they gave enthusiastic audiences a free event.
Goethe and its co-sponsors are as overwhelmingly marvelous as usual. The boost Goethe gives the cultural spectrum in Vietnam cannot be spoken of too highly
The rotund director of the whole superb caboodle of sound is a precious gem sent to us every two years. His Vietnamese name would have to be Ngoc. I hope that he is able to continue the concept because the music in Cracking Bamboo IV may well verge on the sublime
|Kiem Van Tim is a keen observer of life in general and the Hanoi cultural scene in particular and offers some of these observations to the Grapevine. KVT insists that these observations and opinion pieces are not critical reviews. Please see our Comment Guidelines / Moderation Policy and add your thoughts in the comment field below.|