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Huong Thanh & Nguyên Lê

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Nguyen Le & Huong Thanh

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Biography

Vietnamese vocalist Huong Thanh and guitarist Nguyen Le’s collaboration for the 2008 album Fragile Beauty, which has received widespread critical acclaim for its subtle guitar strings and use of electronic beats.

Born in Saigon, Viêt-Nam, Huong Thanh comes from a family of renowned traditional musicians. At the age of 10 Huong Thanh began to learn Cai Luong and traditional singing in the family context - her parents house was always full of visiting singers and musicians, who also acted as her teachers. At 13 she perfected her skills in studying intensively in Saigon music and theater schools, and at 16 she performed on stage for the first time.

In singing there is a special and very strong relation between melody and words: there are six linguistic tones, and the same syllable can have different meanings depending on the pronounced pitch. The poetry of the text has its internal melody, and the singer has to convey the emotions of both. Huong Thanh embodies the particularities of the Vietnamese traditional singing, full of detailed inflections, ornaments, finesse and diversity of expression and timbres.

Since her move to Paris in 1977, she has taken part in several shows of Cai Luong theatre with great traditional artists -including her father- in the Vietnamese community in Europe (France, Germany, Switzerland and Belgium). Each time Huong Thanh returned to Viêt-Nam she has worked for several recordings which include the best musicians of the country.

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