With four traditional music forms of Cheo (Vietnamese traditional opera), Tuong (classical drama), Cai luong (reformed opera) and indigenous music imbued with the sound of the Northwestern mountainous region, the performance gathered together over 40 folk and jazz artists. They performed new compositions combining traditional music with jazz, strings and symphonic brass. The new, simple, rustic and spontaneous musical language led the audiences through different levels of emotions.
With a basic background of traditional music in combination with highfalutin jazz, the concert presented a music space with a mix of standard forms and sophistication, generosity andfreedom.
In the opening performance, artists Nguyen Ngoc Khanh and Nguyen Van Quy played traditional trumpets and drums in Tuong in combination with a saxophone and jazz drum, creating resonant sounds. In the Cheo performance, Meritorious Artist Nguyen Minh Chi performed a drum solo along with jazz artists. The interference of north-west music created harmony so that audiences could easily understand the new melodies. Despite the diverse tunes and musical personalities, the performances found a common voice. The artists had their own space to express new, interesting and inspired musical forms.
Participating in the show, People’s Artist Dao Van Trung played a guitar used for Cai luong performances in combination with a jazz guitar, impressing audiences with a new chord languagewith the originally Cai luong play “Nam Xuan”. Artist Trung shared: “The combination between traditional materials andmodern music forms has brought a new musical language so that audiences can feel the indigenous music and the spirit oftraditional music. Vietnamese musical strength is the melody. The harmony between Cai luong and the jazz symphony will further spotlight the musical personality while retaining the essence of Cai luong”.
Excited about the performance of sao pi (the traditional flute of the Thai ethnic minority people in the northwestern region) by artist Nguyen Duc Minh, along with a string orchestra, Nguyen Thu Lan (from Trung Kinh ward, Hanoi) shared: “When the sound of sao pi resounded with the symphony orchestra, I still felt the indigenous music melodies of the northwestern region in Vietnam. The combination of the bamboo musical instrument of the Thai ethnic minority group with the symphony is not only an interesting meeting between different musical styles but also a way for western music and Vietnamese folk music to find a common voice”.
The concert “Folklore on jazz/Folklore on the strings” is a daring experiment with different music styles, creating a playground for artists to seek a common voice through the music. The event expressed the artists’ attachment and understanding of traditional instruments as well as their attraction towards new instruments using indigenous materials such as bamboo, neohouzeaua and soil, bringing about great innovation in composition. For bass guitarist Nguyen The Vinh,the “meeting” of the two musical forms was a challenge in how to find a developmental direction in the music. However, above all, the concert offered a new perspective on folk and modern music and an opportunity for younger generations to have a more varied approach to traditional music. This combination showed the artists’ earnest personal investment in the arts, the introduction of new contemporary art works combined with traditional materials being the current trend.