By Courtney Ridgel
Booking Coordinator, Courtney Ridgel traveled to Vietnam last May and reflects back on her interactive experience at The Truc Mai Music House:
Taking the time to listen and watch traditional music being performed is one of the best ways to really gain insight into a local culture. For the Vietnamese, many stories and melodies are passed on and nurtured as part of their cultural identity.
One of the most unique and personal experiences for us in Vietnam was a visit the Truc Mai Music House in Saigon. This family specializes in traditional Vietnamese music and performs all over the world. They have a large collection of traditional instruments such as the monochord zither, bamboo xylophone, and stone lithophone in their home. We were warmly welcomed inside and served hot tea, which we sipped while our hosts performed a private show for us in their living room. This family studies and performs melodies from all across Vietnam and they really enjoyed explaining the origins and significance of each instrument. As both of us come from a musical background, we were blown away when our hosts offered to let us try out the instruments ourselves after the performance!