From Vietnam to America | A musical Odyssey Vanessa Vân-Ánh Võ, Vietnamese zither Friday, March 4, 8 p.m. Bowker Auditorium
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FROM VIETNAM TO AMERICA | A MUSICAL ODYSSEY Reviews

Vo's "Three Mountain Pass," which includes her music and traditional Vietnamese pieces played on a number of Vietnamese instruments interestingly begs the question of what is American music, especially since a knockout on the disc is her transcription of French composer Erik Satie's "Gnossienne No. 3." - Mark Swed; Los Angeles Times

It’s gorgeous and sentimental. I loved the way she stretched that note [on dan Bau]. It almost sounded like slide guitar. It felt very bluesy too. - Betto Arcos; NPR All Things Considered Weekend Edition

The dramatic interest, unusual instruments and playing techniques coupled with stellar musicianship, keen visual interest and a stage presence to die for all contributed to its status as a masterpiece. - Johnathon Bakan; SF Asian Music Examiner


Her appearance was dramatic in stunning costume and headdress, her music was riveting, her stage presence theatrical, and her contribution to Vietnamese musical culture outstanding. - Heather Morris; Peninsula Review

The music is rhythmically compelling - it weaves a story through the notes; a walk in mysterious woods or whatever the imagination can conjure up. The music is quite hypnotic in nature, the notes of the stringed instruments in particular so malleable they can express a range of emotion in a single wavering note. - Anya Wassenberg; Art & Culture Maven

Indeed, Vo’s energy and enthusiasm for musical creativity seems to transcend any particular instrument and instead feed off a fundamental sonic curiosity, as well as a desire to reflect on her cultural heritage and share those sounds with new ears. Vo draws strong connection between American jazz and the improvisation involved in traditional Vietnamese music. - Molly Sheredan; New Music Box

Vân-Ánh Võ is a mesmerisingly awesome, and Emmy award winning zitherplayer (among other instruments), and someone who is not only fascinating to hear, but fun to watch. My entire exposure to zithers up to this point was the soundtrack to The Third Man, so I associated zithers with laid-back cool. Vân-Ánh  takes it to a whole other level. She moves about that zither with the crazy self-confidence of someone who’s completely mastered an instrument, it’s pretty inspiring stuff … Vân-Ánh, on the other hand is energetic, striking poses behind them [Kronos Quartet], focused, iconic looking and always giving it her all. – London City Night Review, 2012 London Olympic

Bobby Bradford

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