Vietnamese overseas dan bau (monochord) musician Pham Duc Thanh. (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNS/VNA) - Vietnamese overseas dan bau (monochord) musician Pham Duc Thanh returns for his milestone concert at the Hanoi Opera House on March 3, where he will perform the first Vietnamese traditional instrument.

Entitled Doc Huyen Cam (monochord in Chinese script), the concert will display a wide range of music genres, including folk, pop, rock, new wave and electronic music.

"I love Vietnamese folk music and I love dan bau," said traditional musician Thanh. "Dan bau is a unique instrument which represents typical Vietnamese cultural characteristics. I call dan bau the "princess" of Vietnamese traditional instruments".

Thanh will perform with singers, including A-listed Trong Tan, popular Vietnamese overseas singer Quang Le, and his wife Phuong Linh. He also will play with veteran saxophonist Tran Manh Tuan and orchestras using western and traditional Vietnamese instruments.

Trong Tan will open the concert by singing Tieng Dan Bau (Sound of Dan Bau) with musicians Thanh and Tuan. The song by Nguyen Dinh Phuc and Lu Giang highligting dan bau will be performed, for the first time, with a saxophone.

"I like Trong Tan because he has warm vocal tones and he is an expressive singer. Trong Tan and Quang Le, who represent the two different kinds of music, will sing Vietnam Que Huong Toi (Vietnam My Homeland). I’m moved just to think about the performance".

Other music pieces will introduce the root and development of dan bau, such as xam (blind busker singing) pieces and Ly Koo Chai (a southern folk song). Xam is known as the first music genre to be performed by dan bau, whilst the instrument will play the southern folk song with a rock style, said the musician.

Thanh’s composition, entitled Hoi Lang Ta (Our Village Festival), will close the concert with a performance of dan bau, the orchestra and dance. He wrote the piece in 2013, based on northern cheo (traditional opera).

"I was born in the countryside in the north, where I was surrounded by paddy-fields and cheo songs," said Thanh. "These things nurtured me and made me feel that I wanted to live in my homeland".

The show is performed with Vang Son Mot Thuo (Once Golden Melodies) to respect the musician who has devoted his life to Vietnamese traditional instruments and, in particular, dan bau.

Thanh is a renowned musician known for his masterful ability on dan bau. Born to a traditional musical family in Gia Phu commune, Gia Vien district in northern Ninh Binh province, his talent was fully apparent in his youth. He began playing chèo drum at age 4 and learned mandolin at age 5. He was playing dan bau and dan nhi (two-string fiddle) at age 6.

Thanh joined Vietnam Cheo Theatre and officially became a professional dan bau performer in 1974. Before graduating with top honours at the Vietnam Institute for Musicology’s Vietnamese Traditional Music College in 1983, he went to HCM City to further study the folk music of central and southern Vietnam.

He and his family moved to Canada in 1996, where he became a popular performer in Montreal. He also teaches dan bau at the Vietnamese Music School in Canada. He currently is returning to Vietnam to participate in performances.

"When I perform in the US or other countries, audiences like dan bau very much. I dream of a concert performing in my homeland to honour dan bau," said Thanh.

The one-night concert will begin at 8pm at the Hanoi Opera House. Tickets are 500,000 VND (22 USD) to 3 million VND. Call 0912600096 - 0981843191 for more information.-VNA