ON LIFE. A Narrative Concert: It’s all about aesthetics

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Resounding drumming. ON LIFE begins with the drum.

A universal tool existing in all cultures known to mankind, the drum is used for communication and rituals, among other things. “It is like a communal voice,” VASCAM president P. Q. Phan said. For a meeting, an announcement, a signal for attack or retreat in war time, a rallying sound, and so on. A warm association of the drum that brings sweetness to Vietnamese people’s ears dates back thousands of years. According to K. W. Taylor, author of A History of the Vietnamese, the Âu và Lạc peoples of ancient Vietnam traveled on water. They announced their arrival by beating on bronze drums. Today, archeological artifacts confirmed those drums as belonging to the Đông Sơn culture that dated more than 500 years BC and lasted to the first century. These bronze drums were used for communication and rituals, not musical instruments onstage. Then again in the 18th century, Emperor Quang Trung was known for the battle drum that bolstered his soldiers’ spirit serving as attack signals, and that turned celebratory in tone upon their sweeping victory. At the Quang Trung Museum in Tây Sơn, Bình Định province, one could catch this drum performance at certain times during the week.

Why does ON LIFE begin with the drum? Continue reading

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