Various: The Rough Guide to the Music of Vietnam (Rough Guide/Elite)

 |   |  1 min read

Kim Sinh: Li Giao Duyen
Various: The Rough Guide to the Music of Vietnam (Rough Guide/Elite)

Frankly my two periods travelling around Vietnam didn't involve much searching out of music -- although by my desk I keep a photo of a poor woman singer leading her blind guitar-playing brother through a market in the village of Hoi An.

She sang songs of such ineffable sadness that tears flowed from her eyes and the market came to halt to listen. I took the photograph to constantly remind myself that "music" does need to mean CDs, press releases and interviews.

My sole other music experience worth mentioning was the night I was taken off on the back of motorcycle to get a cassette by a singer called Elvis Phuong that a guy in a bar told me about. It was a mad ride through the night and he woke up some poor fellow asleep in his shop (it was late, about 8pm) and I bought some tapes.

Elvis was bloody ordinary actually, but it was his name I looked for first here, knowing I would recognise no other.

Elvis has left this particular building -- but this hypnotic collection has some woozy traditional folk, beguiling pop ballads, excellent biographical notes, and tracks which boast diverting arrangements.

And Blue Asia here is Japanese producer Makoto Kubota and his Malaysian production team who tap into the undeniably bluesy sound of some Vietnamese music to create what might be called Mekong Delta Blues. Fascinating.

I don't expect many people to turn an ear to this, but I find it quite wonderful.

There are some Vietnam stories under Encounters in Elsewhere, and my travels there in 95 and 97 made for a chapter in my book Postcards From Elsewhere

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   World Music articles index

Ishta: Ishta (Monkey)

Ishta: Ishta (Monkey)

Listening to this multiculti outfit from Auckland qualifies you for frequent flyer points: the line-up has musicians from Dutch, Kiwi, Israeli, Indian and French backgrounds; and the... > Read more

WOMAD TARANAKI CONSIDERED (2014): Three days of love, peace and percussion

WOMAD TARANAKI CONSIDERED (2014): Three days of love, peace and percussion

The glee-cum-concern with which weather forecasters last week announced the impending tropical cyclone doubtless accounted for “calm before the storm” being heard as often on Friday,... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

GUEST WRITER ROB SOUTHERN recalls getting happily stuck with Traffic

GUEST WRITER ROB SOUTHERN recalls getting happily stuck with Traffic

Leaving school in the summer of 1966, I started and finished more than 25 different jobs before the end of 1970. I tried selling ice-creams at London’s Victoria Coach Station, stacking... > Read more

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Matt Langley

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Matt Langley

Matt Langley from Dunedin, New Zealand is one of the smaller but brightest lights on the musical landscape. His debut EP Lost Companions was critically well received but his album Featherbones... > Read more