From Viet Nam News, July 22, 1998


  Foreign musicians joined Labor Cultural Palace jam


Japanese and Belgium musicians received appreciative responses from the audience when they joined local artists to perform at a Sunday concert of Vietnamese traditional music at the Hochiminh City Labor Cultural Palace.

The concert’s opening song Trong Com (Little Drums) was performed by Mamoru Oki and Goto from Japan and Marc Simon and Pierre Ravach, from Belgium along with local artists Hai Phuong and Hai Yen on the dan bau and the dan tranh  Many spectators, overwhelmed by the performance, stood and sang along with the music.

             Mamoru Oki, working at Hochiminh City-based Sakura Bank and Goto Sa Goto, a teacher of Japanese at Dong Du School had may times taken part in traditional music concerts in the city. Oki, who speaks Vietnamese fluently, said “I like Vietnamese folk songs very much. It’s great that I can play traditional music with Vietnamese artists”.

            For Goto Sa Goto, the dan tranh is attractive to her because it is similar to the koto. She had studied the dan tranh at the Hochiminh City Labor Cutural Palace. “I can play the koto of Japan and now I’m trying the dan tranh of Vietnam” said Goto.

In another performance, she won the hearts of the crowd by donning an aodai and playing a folk song on the dan tranh with the Tieng Hat Que Huong troupe.

Pierre Ravach and Marc Simon had both learned the dan tranh in Belgium from Artist Quang Vinh, who is Head of Nam Giao Art Troupe of Vietnamese residents in Brussels. The two Belgiums played the dan tranh for more than 17 years. “We felt confused when people told us that the dan tranh is only played by women in Vietnam. But the image of celebrated musician Tran Van Khe who received international fame from the dan tranh has given us more confidence to continue learning this instrument.” said Marc Simon.

The two Belgium artists along with eight members of the Nam Giao Art Troupe gave performances at the Hochiminh City Labor Cultural Palace on one day in July, 1998.