Xu An Ban Qui Phi (excerpt)
July 22, 2007
First off, I sure wish the Net would switch over to Unicode so I could type Vietnamese characters.
Thanks to reader Linh, we know know that one of the artists may be named Phuoc Cuong. They are performing an example of cai luong, a “classical” type of Vietnamese theater music played on traditional instruments. The record dates from the mid- to late 20s, as far as I can tell, though it could be considerably earlier. According to Linh’s helpful information, cai luong sets lyrics over older, classical Vietnamese songs. The songs that are played in this excerpt are Khoc huang thien, Ngu Diem, and Thien Tuong.
Beka was sold to Columbia in 1926, although the Beka imprint seemed to last at least until the early 1930s. The company made at least 140 recordings in Vietnam, and had a considerable presence in Asia throughout the early part of the century, having begun to record there since ca. 1906, when they first landed in Hong Kong.
The singers are accompanied by a bamboo flute (either the sao, or the tieu), a bowed instrument (probably a dan gao or dan nhi), and a plucked lute of some kind.
Issue Number: B 20107
Matrix Number: 92380