The Captivating Life of Hanoi, Through the Eyes of Pianist Lisa Sung

The pianist, enamored by the rich cultural tapestry of Vietnam, vowed to return for further exploration. Her recent tour, encompassing the vibrant cities of Nha Trang and Hanoi, proved a resounding success. Captivated by the unique blend of traditional and modern influences, she is eager to delve deeper into the country's captivating essence.


Korean-American jazz musician, Lisa Sung, has recently concluded a successful tour, with performances in Nha Trang and Hanoi, Vietnam. What sets her apart is her unique incorporation of familiar Vietnamese lullabies into her jazz piano performances, captivating audiences with a sense of nostalgia.

In an interview with The Hanoi Times, Lisa shares her journey and inspiration behind this creative approach to music.

A Global Language:

When asked about her participation in the First International Jazz Festival in Nha Trang, Lisa explains that she won the 2022 John Stites Jazz Award, which sponsored her band, the Lisa Sung Quartet, to perform in three countries, including Vietnam. She sees music as a universal language that brings people together, transcending cultural and linguistic barriers.

Pianist Lisa Sung captivates audiences with her unique blend of jazz and Vietnamese lullabies.


A Journey to Vietnam:

Lisa shares that this is her first time in Vietnam, and she feels a deep connection to the country. She is drawn to its history and cultural similarities with Indonesia and South Korea, having once been colonial countries. Her passion project involves collaborating with local musicians and exploring folk music, particularly lullabies. She interprets children’s music from different countries through the lens of jazz, creating a unique and captivating sound.

Lisa also highlights the impact of her six children on her music. Children’s music and lullabies hold a special place in her heart, and she believes they are universal in their ability to evoke emotions and memories.

A Taste of Hanoi:

Lisa indulges in some of Hanoi’s delicious cuisine, including pho (beef noodle soup), xoi com (green sticky rice), and the famous egg coffee. She performs not only in Nha Trang but also at jazz clubs in Hanoi, receiving a warm reception from the local audience. Her collaboration with Hanoi-based saxophonist Bao Long, interpreting Vietnamese lullabies and nursery rhymes through jazz, adds a unique twist to her performances.

Lisa Sung, an inspiration to many, shares her journey and passion for music.

Photo: Ngo Minh/The Hanoi Times

An Endless Source of Inspiration:

Lisa opens up about her creative process and how she stays inspired. She finds solace and inspiration in books, particularly those that explore the history of jazz in Vietnam, such as Playing Jazz in Socialist Vietnam – Quyen Van Minh and Jazz in Hanoi. She admires Vietnamese saxophonist Quyen Van Minh and feels honored to have performed at his jazz club in Hanoi.

Lisa’s life is a balance between music, family, teaching, and her students, all of which inspire her. Known as Mama Lisa, she cooks for her students and learns recipes from them, creating a warm and nurturing environment. Her passion for music and life is contagious, and she leaves a lasting impression on those she meets.

Thank you, Lisa, for sharing your journey and inspiring us with your music and your story.

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