The one-hour concert commenced at 9:30 pm on April 22 Vietnam time and offered free access to everyone via live-streaming on Ricky Kej’s YouTube channel.
The event also featured artists from India, Australia, the United States, South Africa, and more, who covered a wide range of messages in their respective performances, from novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) awareness to environmental issues and wildlife protection.
Known as a handmaiden of dan bau — a monochord musical instrument peculiar to Vietnamese culture — Hai Phuong was featured in the lineup of ‘Shine Your Light’ with a performance recorded from the affable atmosphere of her home.
Hai Phuong appeared in bright yellow ao dai, a traditional Vietnamese long gown, flung melancholy riffs with her dan bau and scored a huge impression in just a few minutes of screen time.
She told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that this opportunity to perform arose from her encounter with Ricky Kej three years ago.
Hai Phuong became familiar with Kej’s work through a compilation CD in which he and some 300 other artists sang to raise awareness of environmental protection.
The CD was presented as a gift from Indian Prime MInister Narendra Modi to French President Francois Hollande.
Thanks to a reference from Vietnamese folk musician Tri Nguyen, Kej got in touch with Hai Phuong for a collaboration that was later added to the CD’s tracklist.
Hai Phuong was also invited to perform in the CD showcase tour across multiple states of India as well as in Canada.
Ricky Kej is a world-renowned musician and environmentalist who topped the U.S. Billboard New Age Albums Chart in August 2014 and won a Grammy Awards with his album ‘Winds of Samsara’ the following year.
He received great fanfare from music lovers in Ho Chi Minh City for his headlining act at Hozo – Ho Chi Minh City International Music Festival last December.
|A screenshot taken from the virtual concert ‘Shine Your Light’ via Indian artist Ricky Kej’s YouTube channel
In a recent conversation with Hai Phuong, Kej mentioned ‘Shine Your Light’ as an idea budding from his observation of restrictions imposed on artists due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
He established the virtual concert as a platform for musicians to deliver messages of hope, positivity, and solidarity around the world.
Participating in this unprecedented cause, Hai Phuong confessed the performers were asked to pre-record their performance and send it to the organizers to ensure audio and video quality.
Despite years of experience onstage, this novel platform still confounded Hai Phuong to some extent. She said she was not sure whether her performance met the standards of the organizers.
Fortunately, working with a team with such professional conduct helped her gain composure.
Her filming setup was extremely streamlined, using just the high-definition camera on a phone.
It took her a few takes to finally match the camera angle, lighting and background to the organizers’ recommendations, thanks to the help from her daughter Hai Minh.
“As you can see, each artist has an interesting background of their home, which adds to the point of our message ‘Stay home,’” Phuong said.