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Musical show delves into population shifts

A musical show dealing with the fading of tradition as urbanisation approaches will be staged in Ha Noi on April 4 and 5.

Musical show delves into population shifts
Musical show delves into population shifts

Titled Arrival Cities, the work is a joint project between band The Six Tones and Swedish artist Jorgen Dahlqvist who made a documentary from recordings and interviews with people in transition zones in the city.

The work was inspired by Canadian journalist Doug Saunders, who discusses 21st century migration in his book entitled Arrival Cities (2010). Building on research on five continents, his book chronicles the final shift of human populations from rural to urban areas, which Saunders argues is the most important development of the 21st-century.

He also argues that this migration creates neigh-bourhoods and slums on urban margins that are linked both to villages and to the core cities, suggesting that the fate of these centres is crucial to the fortune of a nation.

Arrival Cities is built around the life of Luu Ngoc Nam, an actor and costume maker in traditional Tuong theatre.

In Arrival Cities, the homesickness and tension between traditions he experiences as he moves around the country becomes the source of inspiration.

“We visited a house where street vendors stay at night. There were 10 women on a bamboo mat on the floor, some of them had stayed there for 20 years, returning to their home village once or twice a month,” said the dan tranh (16-stringed zither) player Nguyen Thanh Thuy.

“But these women are all from the same village. They take care of each other and share history. Their stories are all very different, one woman works in the streets to pay for her two children’s studies in university in Ha Noi. Even if she never becomes an Hanoian, her children will have the option.”

The Six Tones is a group that plays traditional Vietnamese music in hybrid settings for Western stringed instruments and traditional Vietnamese instruments. Members also improvise in traditional and experimental Western idioms and also commission new works in collaboration with artists in Asia and other parts of the world.

The band includes two Vietnamese, Nguyen Thanh Thuy, who plays dan tranh, and Ngo Tra My, who plays dan bau (monochord), and the Swedish guitarist Stefan Ostersjo, who also plays other stringed instruments.

The show will be held at Hong Ha Theatre, at 51 Duong Thanh Street.

Free tickets can be collected from the Goethe Institute, 56-58 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street, on weekdays between 9am-12pm and 1pm-5pm.