The Tri Minh Quartet and the Arabesque dance troupe will perform as representatives of Vietnamese contemporary art at the Center Stage programme in the US.

They will join artists from Morocco and Pakistan in the programme, which the US State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs has organised. The event, to be held from September to November, aims to connect artists of diverse communities around the world.

The quartet includes Pham Tra My, a master of the dan tranh or 16-string zither; Duc Minh, a virtuoso of dan moi or Vietnamese Jew's harp; Ha Dinh Huy, a percussionist and hand drummer; and Tri Minh, the quartet founder, who is also a pianist and electro music expert.

Tri Minh said the quartet would perform Vietnamese traditional music and, using their individual stories and experiences, engage in dialogues with other international artists.

"We learned of the programme by chance," the quartet founder revealed. "When we were implementing our own musical project about three years ago, we applied for the Center Stage programme. After a number of trial performances, our quartet was selected."

"Possibly, there is a common point between our project and the Center Stage programme that aims for dialogue. From my performances abroad, I learned about the important role of dialogue in co-operation," Tri Minh said.

The quartet will perform 13 pieces, conveying the dynamism of the Vietnamese people. The repertoires form part of a cultural project that narrates the history and experiences of the Vietnamese people, who are now in the process of developing.

Born in a family of musicians, Tri Minh studied piano at the Vietnam National Academy of Music. He began exploring electronic music, at times playing on the fringes of noise and experimental improvisation and at times keeping up with pop-friendly formats.

In 2008, he founded Hanoi Sound Stuff, a musical festival that aspired to create a unique world of quality electronic and experimental music with boundary-pushing sounds, creative performances and collaboration between foreign and local artists, to spur the interest of young Vietnamese audiences.

For its part, the Arabesque dance troupe will perform The Mist, a contemporary dance, at Center Stage.

The Mist depicts the simple life and daily chores of Vietnamese farmers, including those working in the fields and husking rice.

Through contemporary dance movements and the rhythm of cai luong or percussion and zither music for renovated opera, American audiences will get a unique perspective on the peaceful landscape of the Vietnamese countryside.

As one of Ho Chi Minh City's independent contemporary dance troupes, Arabesque has worked hard to find a new vocabulary of movement.-VNA