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Books, Films and Music

Books, Films and Music

The Buffalo Boy-The real Vietnamese countryside

The Buffalo Boy- The real Vietnamese countryside

Just see The Buffalo Boy to be attracted by wonderful view of Vietnamese countryside and  to understand more about lives of  farmers in Vietnam, how they live and fight against the difficult of life to live, with the strongwill heart.

The Buffalo Boy  (Mùa len trâu in Vietnamese, Le Gardien des Buffles in French) is a 2004 film directed byMinh Nguyen-Vo. The movie was the official entry fromVietnam for Best Foreign Language Film category at the78th Academy Awards. It was filmed in Ca Mau Province, Vietnam's southernmost province.

               Trailer: {youtube}kNHP7xI7eVI{/youtube}

Vietnamese Traditional Music

Vietnamese Traditional Music

Ca tru

Ca Tru music sounds strange to the uninitiated. Clicks and clacks accompany the centuries old ballads. It is not the kind of music that inspires toe tapping or humming.

Listen to ca tru:


Cheo Opera

Cheo is a form of popular theater in Vietnam that has its roots in ancient village festivals.


Tuong or Hat Boi

Tuong, also called Hat Boi in the south, is a kind of drama of the national theater. Tuong came into being over five hundred years ago, reflecting the rich and special culture of Vietnam.


Cai Luong (renovated opera)

Cai Luong (Renovated Opera) appeared in the southern part of Vietnam in the 1920s. This relatively modern form combines drama, modeled after French comedy, and singing.


Quan Ho Bac Ninh

The folk-song Quan Ho, a very rich and beautiful musical storehouse of our people, has a very long lasting history. During all its existence, successive creations have unceasingly changed the type of the folk-song Quan Ho.


Vietnamese Lullaby Songs

Lullaby songs are a sort of folk music often heard in Vietnam, especially in the countryside. They are used not only to lull small children to go to sleep but also to express human feelings such as homesickness, wife missing her husband...


Hat van

Hat van, or hat chau van, is a traditional folk art which combines trance singing and dancing, a religious form of art used for extolling the merits of beneficent deities or deified national heroes.

Hat Xam

Hat Xam, or the song of the blind artists, has existed since the Tran dynasty (13th century).


Hat Then

"Hat then" are religious epics of Long Poems, performed by the highland Tay and Nung minority groups. Those songs tell the story of the path to paradise to ask the Jade Emperor to settle troubles for the head of household.


Xoan Singing

Xoan singing is a folk cultural product of Phú Thọ province. The last point of time that Xoan accompany still sang in communal houses of the villages in spring was in 1945


Source: http://www.vietnam-culture.com/zones-8-1/Vietnamese-Traditional-Music.aspx

Vietnam Traditional Instruments

Vietnam Traditional Instruments

The Dan Nhi is popular among several ethnic groups in Vietnam. It is also referred to as Dan Co in southern provinces of Viet Nam.


Dan Nguyet - Two-String Guitar

The Southerners of Vietnam refer to this instrument as Dan Kim. Dan Nguyet has two strings and the resonator resembles the moon, that is probably why it is named Dan Nguyet, which means moon lute.



The Dan Ty Ba is a four-string instrument which is frequently present in a traditional orchestra.


16-string zither (Dan Tranh)

The Dan Tranh is also known as Dan Thap Luc or sixteen-stringed zither. Its shape resembles a bamboo tube that has been sliced vertically in half.


Dan Tam Three-string Lute

This three-stringed lute is used by several ethnic groups in Vietnam. The Viet call it Dan Tam, whereas the Ha Nhi call it Ta in. This instrument exists in three sizes: large, medium, and small. The small is the most popular.

Bamboo Flute (Sao truc)

Sao truc, the bamboo flute, is made from a stem of fine bamboo pierced with finger holes.



T'rung is one of the popular musical instruments closely associated with the spiritual life of the Bahnar, TSedan, Giarai, Ede and other ethnic minority groups in the Central Highlands of Vietnam.


Dan Tam Thap Luc

The Tam Thap Luc is a sort of zither with thirty-six brass strings as it is called. It has the shape of an isosceles trapezoid, with a slightly convex sound board made of light, porous, unvarnished wood.


Trong Com - Rice Drum

The Trong Com (rice drum) gets its name from the practice of placing a pinch of hot steamed rice in the middle of the drum skin to "tune" the instrument.

Dan Day is a special instrument of Vietnamese origin. This three-stringed lute is used incorporate the peculiarities of the two-stringed lute (dan Nguyet), the four-stringed pear-shaped lute (dan Ty Ba), and the three-stringed lute (dan Tam).


Cong Chieng

The Cong Chieng is a kind of musical instrument casted from mixed copper and belongs to the idiophonic family. In Vietnamese language, the word "Cong" points to a musical instrument with a bossed part in center (bossed gong) and "Chieng" without it (flat gong).


Gong Zither

The gong zither is a stringed musical instrument of flipping branch. It is popular among some ethnicities in the North of the Central Highlands such as Bana, Gia Rai, Xe Dang, Ro Ngao, Je Trieng.

The Klong put

The Klongput is the Xe Dang language name of a musical instrument of the wind family, air driving-in branch.



The Dan da (lithophone) is a set of stone slabs of different sizes and shapes fabricated through an elementary technique. Lithophone is composed of a set of eleven resonant stones.




Interesting books about Vietnam

Interesting books about Vietnam-Don't be missed to read

thehouseondreamstreet1. The House on Dream Street (Dana Sachs)- Memoir of an American Woman in Vietnam

Have you ever felt the urge to leave your current life on hold and settle in Vietnam for a little while? Dana Sachs did just that. In 1989 while backpacking in Asia, Dana Sachs feel in love with Vietnam - a feeling that was to last a lifetime. She explains, that "Over the course of all these years, some part of my soul reserved itself for Vietnam. When I went there, it became alive again.When I left, it retreated."

The House on Dream Street is the story of her sojourn in Vietnam; where she explores day to day life in Ha Noi. As she becomes intimately involved in the activities and lives of her circle of acquaintances - her landlords and their extended families, neighbors and the street cafes on Dream Street (where she lives), and ultimately her lover, she beings to see beneath the surface and to discover Vietnam as it is, rather than as she expected.

Readers will enjoy this personal account of life in Vietnam. Dana Sachs learns about things that most Vietnamese people have learned as children and take for granted - peasant cooking, rudimentary Vietnamese, cultural nuances, government omnipotence and struggle to overcome poverty. She has a gift for recounting each conversation verbatim, so that the account of her time flows swiftly as you read. Interspersed with the dialogue are her thoughtful comments on Vietnamese life and her personal reactions to events.

Anyone interested in current everyday life in Vietnam as seen through the eyes of an American will enjoy this book.

Review by Allison Martin from http://www.adoptvietnam.org/books/bkdreamstreet.htm


war2. The Sorrow of War (Bao Ninh)- the obsession of Vietnam War

Bao Ninh's The Sorrow of War is a hauntingly powerful Vietnam war novel. Much of it is clearly autobiographical, and the blurred distinction between the narrator and the protagonist, Kien, eventually collapses. It is structured as a series of reminiscences, jumping backwards and forwards in time between the events most salient in memory, events which take on a different hue each time they are examined. Kien looks back not just at his ten years at war, but at his final days at school, his work with an MIA team after the war, the slow disintegration of his life since, and the solace he finds in his writing. The Sorrow of War manages to convey not just the immediate horrors of war, but also the emotional damage it wreaks and the dislocation of lives it causes.

A book review by Danny Yee © 1995 http://dannyreviews.com/



3. Dragons on the roof (Carol Howland)- a one-year-experience in Vietnam of a Foreigner

Read it to know the real Vietnam under the eyes of Carol Howland-a writer who loves travelling and enjoys real experience.

Carol Howland’s book, Dragons on the roof, describing her one year experience of Vietnam, was published at the beginning of the year. She is an experienced travel writer, something that is clearly apparent in the quality of the writing.

Book review: http://www.thegioipublishers.com.vn/en/books/detail.php?idbooks=557





4. Hanoi of a thousand years (Carol Howland)- for 1000 years of Thang Long-Hanoi

The opening chapters of the book are built around Hanoi’s well-known districts, such as the HoanKiemLake, the Old Quarter, the French Quarter, the WestLake area, etc. with the author leading us down the streets and around the corners, to point out monuments, pagodas, unusual sites, remnants of ancient cultures and current curiosities. Along the way, she digresses lengthily into history, architecture, tales and fables, poetry, and personal observations. Into this hodge-podge is woven additional information about foods, customs, social conventions, and quirks of Hanoians. In some places the book reads like a historical treatise, elsewhere like a gossip column. Much of the information is drawn from previously published sources.  

Book review:http://www.thegioipublishers.com.vn/en/books/detail.php?idbooks=611


unique5. Uniquely Vietnamese (James Edward Goodman)

To fill a gap in the knowledge of Vietnam and its people, for the world should know more about this side of the country, and to share my fascination and enthusiasm with the general public, I decided to write a book that introduced, described and explained what is original and indigenous to Vietnam, outside of Chinese influence, not part of Chinese tradition or Indeed that of any other country. It is this little-recognized aspect of Vietnamese culture that gives the country its special Identity. This theme should be obvious from the title I have given to the work- Uniquely Vietnamese.  

Book review: http://www.thegioipublishers.com.vn/en/books/detail.php?idbooks=369



2005_08_02_20_11_54_276tet_am_lich_a6. Tết - The Vietnamese Lunar New Year (Hữu Ngọc and Barbara Cohen)

This publication is devoted solely to the arts and ceremonies of the most significant holiday of the Vietnamese people - Tết. The diverse rites and traditions that mark this important time provide insights into the beliefs and arts, which are the core of Vietnamese traditional society. This book, like others on decoded myths and intellectual understanding of rituals, is important in studying the forms of Tết traditions. 

Book review:  http://www.thegioipublishers.com.vn/en/books/detail.php?idbooks=171 







7. How to cook Vietnamese cuisine (Văn Châu)


The dishes introduced in this book are traditional, authentic and very common in family meals; they are widely served in restaurants, hotels and food shops. The ingredients are easy to find and simple to prepare yet still showcase typical Vietnamese dishes in all their variations in the northern, central and southern regions.


Book review: http://www.thegioipublishers.com.vn/en/books/detail.php?idbooks=675




Three seasons

Three seasons- A beautiful poem by images and sounds about Vietnam

 three_seasons_1999Beautiful and touch stories- with lovely music and wonderful scene will bring you a deeper look about lives of Vietnamese people, with different destinies in Ho Chi Minh city after Vietnam war-see it to know more about Vietnam-with three seasons: dry-rain-and hope.

The film which is directed by Tony Bui-an American-Vietnamese director got many awards-especially in the Sundance Film Festival with Audience Award,  Cinematography Award  and Grand Jury Prize 

"Three Seasons" was the first in Sundance Film Festival history to ever receive both the Grand Jury Award and Audience Award.

Trailer: http://www.reelzchannel.com/trailer-clips/27488/three-seasons-trailer

The Vertical Ray of the Sun

The Vertical Ray of the Sun- deep about Hanoi in 2000s

mua he chieu thang dungThe film screened at the 2000 Toronto International Film Festival with an impressive title “The Vertical Ray of the Sun” can bring you back to a beautiful Hanoi ten years ago, through the life story of three sisters living in the old quarter.  

The Vertical Ray of the Sun is the third feature film by Vietnamese-born French director Trần Anh Hùng. It was released in 2000 and is the final part of what many now consider to be Tran's "Vietnam trilogy."

This drama was lensed in Vietnam's capital, Hanoi, as well as in Halong Bay and the village of Luoi Ngoc, Quang Ninh Province.

The film's original score is composed by Tôn-Thât Tiêt. Additionally, three songs of the noted Vietnamese songwriter Trịnh Công Sơn are interspersed through the film, as are songs by the Velvet Underground, Lou Reed, Arab Strap, and The Married Monk.

The Vertical Ray of the Sun was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival.

 If you love a peaceful Hanoi with romantic scene and enjoy soft music of Trinh Cong Son-the most famous Vietnamese artist, let’s enjoy  “The Vertical Ray of the Sun”

 Trailer:  {youtube}JeWQSEvLaoU{/youtube}

Other movies about Vietnam of Tran Anh Hung: Cyclo (1995),  and The Scent of Green Papaya (1993)




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