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Viet Nam: Traditions of the South

Various Artists
Viet Nam: Traditions of the South

This recording, compiled and annotated by Vietnamese musicologist Trần Văn Khê, collects two styles of music from the southern region of Vietnam (defined in the liner notes as the area between the 12th parallel and the country’s southern tip at Pointe de Cà Mau). The inclusion of both formal ritual and religious music, including prayers and a spirit possession song, and secular or “entertainment” music, which allows for improvisation, creates a great sonic variety. One piece in the latter genre is the extremely popular “Longing for the Past.”

The music is performed on a variety of traditional Vietnamese instruments ranging from 2-string fiddles to 16-string zithers, flutes, end-blown double reeds, and percussion. Vocals are in the form of chants and lyrical songs.

This album is part of the UNESCO Collection of Traditional Music. More than 125 albums are being released by Smithsonian Folkways Recordings to make the series publicly available again, including more than a dozen never-released albums of musical traditions from around the globe.

Track Listing

Bai Trong Lay and Thet Tu Huyen, Nam Phu, Chin Quon, Sau Phu, Hai Phat 2:52
Buddhist Chants and Prayers / A Bonze of Saigon Tu Huyen, Hai Phat, Tam Thu, Hai Dat 4:30
Bai Ha Tu Huyen, Hai Phat, Tam Thu, Bay Ham, Chin Quon, Hai Dat 4:55
Respectful Invitation to the Goddess of the West Hai Phat, Tu Huyen, Chin Quon, Tam Thu, Sau Phu, Hai Dat 8:38
Xang Xê Hai Biêu, Sau Tung, Bay Ham 4:28
Rao Nam, Hoi Ai-Oan Vinh Bao 3:30
Binh Ban Ba Duong, Sau Tung, Bay Ham, Tu Huyen 3:46
The Wind Blows and Bends the Weeping Willow Mong Trung, Trân Vân Khê 4:04
The Four Generations Miss Bach Huê, Hai Biêu, Tu Huyen, Sau Tung 4:11
The Beautiful Tây Thi Hai Biêu, Sau Tung, Bay Ham 3:35
Longing for the Past Miss Bach Huê, Hai Biêu, Sau Tung, Bay Ham 4:13