Dan bau - A Vietnamese "magical" traditional music instrument

Home to 54 ethnic groups and each group has its own cultural character evident in its musical, which is the reason why Vietnam is known as a country owning so many traditional musical instruments. And if one sound had to be chosen to evoke Vietnam, for many it would be the sound of Đàn Bầu, as it is believed to be as old as Vietnams’ initial dynastic period, an unprecedented musical instrument exists through time holding with it hundreds of years of delightful music into long lasting histories of lives of the Vietnamese.

So what does “Đàn Bầu” mean? Đàn, meaning a stringed instrument, and Bầu which means gourd, the device is exactly what its name. With one and only string extended over a sound box, Đàn Bầu can create all the sounds in the pentatonic scale and deliver soft, charming, and emotional melodies which embody the magnificence of the country and its people. 

A popular legend of Đàn Bầu beginning tells of a blind woman playing sorrowful music from the instrument in the market to earn money for her family while her husband was at war. She received this instrument as a special gift from a fairy, who was very touched by her behavior of sacrificing her eyes to save her mother-in-law’s life.

That, they say, was the beginning of how the instrument was discovered and the unmistakable emotional appeal of its melody began to be appreciated. Though there’s not much to substantiate such story, one thing’s for sure, the sounds produced by Đàn Bầu send a powerful message of love, longing and beauty that never cease to evoke the hearts and souls of its listeners.

And whether the legend is based in fact or not, it remains true that Đàn Bầu has historically been played by blind musicians. At its first appearance, it was a very simple instrument comprised of a bamboo section, a flexible rod, a calabash or half a coconut.

Although having only one string and simple structure, Đàn Bầu is not easy to play well. Playing Đàn Bầu requires high precision to allow rise and fall of pitch along with lengthening and shortening of the notes with the aid of the flexible rod that permits the shifting tension of the string, thus, trills could be played.

And cruising with LaFairy Sails, guests will get chance to delight in a sparkling Dinner on Top Deck surrounded by candle lights and thousands of stars in the middle of tranquil bay. Furthermore, the melodious sounds from Đàn Bầu played by a skillful folk artist will make your dinner become a dream.

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