Ha Myo Uses Technology to Promote Traditional Music

Since the release of her breakout hit single, "Xam Ha Noi," Ha Myo has continued to create innovative music by blending genres such as rap, EDM and traditional styles including "Xam," "Xoan," and "Muong folk songs."

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In the electronic music backdrop, singer Ha Myo passionately belted out the lyrics of xam (blind busketers’ singing), wearing an eye-catching traditional costume. Her melodious singing, combined with the vivid imagery of the lyrics, captivated the audience and left them mesmerized by her performance.

Ha Myo (real name Nguyen Thi Ngoc Ha) has a series of songs that blend rap and EDM with traditional music genres such as xam (the music of blind wanderers), xoan (the spring music of Phu Tho Province, recognized by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage), and Muong folk singing, starting with the song that made her famous, Xam Ha Noi.

Xam Ha Noi is lauded for her accomplishments

When she was a young girl, Ha’s father would often take her to concerts by amateur singers in Ba Vi District, located near Hanoi. While he may have a passion for music, he does not want his daughter to pursue a career in the performing arts as it is highly demanding and can be unpredictable in terms of remuneration. Instead, her parents would prefer for her to become a teacher.

Singer Ha Myo brings a modern and youthful edge to traditional music. With her unique style, she infuses her auditory creations with a vibrant energy that captivates audiences everywhere. Photos courtesy of the singer provide a glimpse into the energy and spirit of her performances.

Ha determined to sit for the Military University of Culture and Arts’ entrance exam in order to pursue her passion for singing. Surprisingly, prior to taking the test, she had no knowledge of playing the piano or even recognizing musical tones and beats. However, her beautiful voice and unwavering dedication to making music her life’s work likely moved the examiners.

With the esteemed Van Ty, in 2019 Ha had the chance to learn about the traditional singing styles of ca tru, quan ho, cheo, and xam.

“The more I learned, the more I regretted the lack of opportunities for traditional music to reach young audiences. From the very beginning, I have been enamored with the timeless melodies,” Ha remarked.

Ha competed in the prestigious Hanoi Best Singing Voice Contest in 2020 and performed a range of pop tracks, which are her forte. In the final round, Ha took a risk by trying something new in order to make a lasting impression on the judges and audience alike.

When the electronic music from my husband’s studio (electronic music producer The Phuong VBK) started playing, I immediately had the idea of fusing xam with EDM in my mind as she strived to perform at the final round,” she said.

Ha Myo receives the title Hanoi Outstanding Young Face 2022.

Ha sought guidance from renowned musician Nguyen Quang Long, an esteemed xam specialist. In a hurry, Long arranged the song “Xam Hanoi” using the customary xam sound with new words to promote that daring thought. The hustle and bustle of the Hanoi Old Quarter, the local delicacies, and the city’s modern lifestyle are all captured in the song.

Ha was able to take home both the Second Prize and the Best Song About Hanoi Award at the Hanoi Best Singing Voice Competition, thanks to their incredible song.

Since then, I have developed an inexplicable bond with xam. It seems that Ha Myo and xam were lucky to find each other and hit it off. I can be my true self when I am with xam,” Ha expressed joyfully.

Share Traditional Culture with the World

Ha determined to rekindle traditional music and embarked on this journey to construct her identity and career.  

Despite her apprehension, she decided to take a risk and break the rules of a traditional music genre. She was aware that this could potentially lead to criticism, boycotts, and prejudice against her and her future products from both the public and the entertainment industry. However, she was determined to take the chance and push the boundaries of her art.

 Ha Myo (sixth from left) receives the title Vietnam Outstanding Young Face 2022

Ha concluded, “No matter the praise or criticism, it still makes me proud to push myself to new heights and challenge myself to try new things.”

She then moves beyond the music of blind buskers and pushes the boundaries by experimenting with other conventional genres.

In addition to Xam Hà Nội, the singer Ha Myo has released other works that have caught the public’s interest, including Trò Chơi I A Trời Chờ (based on Xoan singing), Xam Xuân Xanh, and Đập Nặng Khôt (Muong folk songs). Ha Myo and her husband, The Phuong VBK, consistently combine folk music and electronic music in these tracks to create unique and entertaining works suitable for young audiences.

She told The Hanoi Times, “After the experiment with buskers’ music, I cherished the idea of blending folk with modern music to stir up national pride in young music lovers and international visitors.”

As a musician, it can take years of dedication and hard work to create their own unique identity in the music industry. But once a singer has found their voice, there is no stopping them from forging ahead.

Ha Thanh Xuan, a talented young singer, has made waves in the Vietnamese music industry by reviving and utilizing traditional art forms. She is aided in her mission by Nguyen Quang Long, a musician; The Phuong VBK, a producer; and Van Ty, her teacher. With their help, Ha is able to combine timeless melodies with modern-day values, creating unique and beautiful pieces of music.

In order to effectively mix different musical genres, it is essential to fully understand the unique elements of each genre. After understanding, one should then choose the most distinctive features from each genre to mix together, thus ensuring that the individual identities of each genre are preserved and not causing any confusion.

Ha is currently employed by the Vietnam Music and Dance Theater, where she has the unique opportunity to showcase and promote indigenous music to a global audience through cultural exchange programs. She appreciates the chance to share her culture with the world.

Xam Ha Noi brings Ha Myo an award for the best song about Hanoi and the Second Prize at the Hanoi Best Singing Voice Contest 

In the future, she aspires to achieve groundbreaking advances in communication through the support of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and other organizations, in order to bring folk singing to a global stage.

“YouTube is a great platform to promote my songs and gain recognition from foreign audiences,” said Ha Myo, an independent Vietnamese musician. “I have seen many positive comments about traditional Vietnamese music on my channel. With the help of social media, I am confident that my songs will have a chance to reach listeners from all over the world.”

Ha Myo, an esteemed singer, has been honored with the titles of “Hanoi Outstanding Young Face 2022”, “Vietnamese Promising Young Face 2021”, and “Vietnamese Outstanding Young Face 2022” for her passionate devotion to traditional Vietnamese culture.

Nguyen Quang Long, an acclaimed musician and researcher, praised Ha Myo’s ambition to create musical works that blend traditional and modern elements. “Ha Myo has a desire to produce more works that combine traditional and modern elements,” he said.