Thursday, November 17, 2011

TEDxSanJoaquin 2011: Breathing New Air into Tradition on the dan Tranh by Van-Anh Vanessa Vo

Van-Anh Vanessa Vo dedicates her life to creating music on the dan Tranh (16-string zither) and fusing her traditional Vietnamese foundation with a freshness of new structures and compositions. Since settled in California, she has been a collaborator and solo artist with such musicians and groups as Kronos Quartet, Nguyen Le, Paul McCandless, Ali Ryerson, Charles Loos, SOMEI Taiko Ensemble, Wobbly World, as well as lending her talents to fundraising events for several non-profit organizations. Continually cultivates the beauty and versatility of the dan Tranh to feature her beloved instrument in an international music genre, Van-Anh has been co-composer and arranger for the Oscar nomimated and Sundance Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary, Daughter from Danang (2002), the Emmy Award-winning film and soundtrack for Bolinao 52 (2008), and the multiple award-winning film A Village Called Versailles (2009). Recently, Van-Anh released her newest CD "She's Not She" with award-winning composer Do Bao.

Van-Anh began studying dan tranh from the age of four, and graduated with distinction from and taught at the Vietnam Academy of Music. In 1995, Van-Anh won championship in the Vietnam National Dan Tranh Competition along with the first prize for best solo performance of modern folk music. She has since performed in more than fourteen countries and recorded in many broadcast programs inside and outside of Vietnam. Her first CD "Twelve Months, Four Seasons" was released in 2002.

In addition to dan tranh, Van-Anh also performs as soloist on the monochord (bau), the 36-string hammered dulcimer (dan tam thap luc), the bamboo xylophone (dan t'rung), the k'longput, traditional drums (trong), and Chinese guzheng. She lives and teaches dan tranh and other Vietnamese traditional instruments in Fremont, California.

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