Girl group give pop twist to old tunes

A group of women trained in playing traditional music surprised the audience at the recent Bai hat Viet 2005 (Vietnamese Songs) awards ceremony with their performance of the song “Freshness of the Sun” composed by Duc Tri.

They made a splash by dressing like pop stars instead of traditional artists.

The group
Mat Troi Do (Red Sun) sing, play music instruments, dance and wear modem dress, creating a new, more youthful image for a traditional music group.


The all-girl band has five members, Thu Thuy, Minh Loan, Minh Ha, Hoai Phuong and Cam Ha, who are all skilled graduates of music colleges. They play traditional instruments including the dan ti ba (four-chord lute), dan tranh (16- chord zither), sao (bamboo flute), dan nhi (two-chord fiddle) and dan tam thap luc (36-chord zither). Each member is able to play at least two instruments well.


The Red Sun was started by Minh Ha after she saw a performance of the Chinese group, the 12 Girls Band. She was bowled over by the band’s style, which combined traditional and modem instruments with sexy modem dress. At the beginning, the Red Sun wondered if audiences would accept their choice to play traditional music with a pop flair. But they were praised in their debut at the Binh Quoi Resort when they performed a traditional folk song of the north, remixed with rap and acapella singing, although the band still wore traditional dress.


The Red Sun’s repertoire includes pop songs as well as traditional music, producing a blend of both. The band even plays foreign pieces from Spain and Japan.


"We are confident in our performing style. We can survive in the music market because we can play instruments and sing folk songs remixed with contemporary style. lt's our own style,” said a member of the Red Sun.


Following their debut last September, the band was invited to perform in several music shows. Their video clip Ngau Hung (Improvisation) was broadcast o­n Vietnam Television during Lunar New Year. They have also been invited to perform at Dai Noi Palace during the 2006 Hue Festival in June.