The traditional music in a family
In a house whose walls are hung with many dan tranhs and other traditional musical instruments, there is a mother that has brought her sweet children up in the spirit of the melodies provoking love for the native land. Any visitor to the house is charmed with graceful maidens with long black hair in embroidered silk ao dais playing the dan tranhs in the pictures. There seem to be melodious sounds echoed from the dan tranh, the zither and the dan bau. The husband, before retiring, used to be a teacher of English and philosophy. They live happily in an artistic atmosphere. Fame is always cemented by happiness to them.
Thuy Hoan, the mother, is teaching at the Ho Chi Minh conservatoire, researching and writing books on the dan tranh beside managing the “ The songs of the native land” troupe in the Ho Chi Minh City cultural labour palace.
The National conservatoire, the former name of the Ho Chi Minh conservatoire, was founded in 1957. Thuy Hoan began her study a year after in this place which is now located on Nguyen Du Street. She had firstly thought that learning to play the dan tranh was a way of bringing a sweet freshness to life. Gradually, the dan tranh pervaded her soul strongly beyond her imagination. She graduated in 1962 and was invited to teach there since then. She has been with the dan tranh in her performance everywhere out of teaching hours. She has the passion to introduce this traditionally musical instrument to the world. Her young learners have satisfied her wish. They are Hai Phuong, Hai Yen, Minh Chau, Uyen Tram, Thuy Oanh, Thu Hong, Lan Anh, Thu Hien, etc…
Hai Phuong is a girl with long black hair and eyes flashing a little bit of playfulness. She always welcomes everyone with unaffected pleasure and voice of the southern Vietnamese people in spite of her northern native province. She was familiar with the dan tranh at the age of 5 when her mother, Thuy Hoan, got her attention during the hours of teaching the dan tranh at her house. Coming to the conservatoire at 7, she graduated after 15 years of learning and skillfully playing the dan tranh and many other musical instruments. Hai Phuong usually performs with the dan bau and the dan tranh, especially spending much time on the latter. She also loves playing the piano and invests in a make-up studio as an extra earn-living. She is an efficient assistant to her mother in managing the ‘ the songs of the native land” troupe.
Hai Yen, Hai Phuong’s younger sister, used to perform in the Au Co traditional music singing band which belongs to Vietnam tourism company. She also lived in the musical atmosphere of the conservatoire early on. She was trained to play the percussion instruments including the traditional drums, drums for pop music and the orchestra. She plays the dan t’rung beautifully. This is a traditional instrument from Vietnamese plateaus she usually performs with. Her shorter hair seems to make her more mischievous than her sister. But contrary to that look, she is relatively excellent at cooking as those who have tasted her courses complimented
The mother and the 2 daughters, Thuy Hoan, Hai Phuong, Hai Yen, have devoted their whole lives to the traditionally musical instruments and the traditional music. Proudly, Hai Phuong has become one of young Vietnamese talents. That successful tradition is not always possessed by any family.
Translated by Tan Tai