Imagine a rap battle, between two competing, freestyling artists. But instead of rappers, you've got Vietnamese villagers. And instead of rhyming lyrics, you’ve got folk music infused with poetry and lullabies. Now set it all in 13th-century northern Việt Nam. That’s what you get with quan họ, traditional call and response folk music. Loa’s Jenny Lý gives us a sample of this singing style.
Rock n’ roll came alive in Việt Nam in the midst of war. Vietnamese musicians took inspiration from the beats and guitar riffs of Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin and made it their own. The music that was created during this time is arguably some of the best rock music available, a unique sound that could only have existed in the contexts of which it was born. Loa's Stella Trần walks us through a collection of this groundbreaking music.
Music has the power to transcend time, connecting different generations and giving voice to enduring ideals even as the world around us changes. In our "Solitary Envoi" segment, we embark to a faraway jungle, near the Thai-Laotian border. A song written from a small resistance base, by the light of the moon, speaks to the sacrifices made by those who have committed themselves to their country.
There’s a part of Vietnamese performance art that is distinctly emotional -- melodramatic, you might even call it. Actually, we call it cải lương. It’s folk opera that amplifies human drama with plaintive notes and a haunting pitch. This week, Lilly Nguyễn goes back in time to her first musical memory of cải lương to discover the story behind this traditional musical theater.