Various Artists, Music of Vietnam

Amelia Raitt

By Amelia Raitt

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

The timing of Folkways '1965 release Music of Vietnam couldn't be…weirder. As the United States ramped up its escalation in Vietnam, this simple set of 25 clips attempt to explore the various forms of music that had evolved over the thousands of years that humans had inhabited the area. Pham Duy, the record's compiler breaks the collection into two parts: the otherworldly sounds of pre-Vietnamese music make up the first half of the release, encompassing xylophone, zither, gongs and unison singing. Vietnamese music, on the other hand, more often seems to focus on the zither and the monochord (a unique one-stringed instrument), which had become the most popular instruments in the country by that time.