Hoang Oanh singing "Anh La Ai"in Vong Co


Singer Hoang Oanh is no stranger to the overseas Vietnamese community for her deep and "mysterious" voice. Born as Huynh Kim Chi in My Tho, South Vietnam, she was raised in Saigon and came to the US in 1975. Her specialty is traditional and war (also called "yellow") music.

Vọng cổ is a song, or more appropriately a cycle or pattern, performed in cải lương opera (renovated theater). Although created in the twentieth century, it is most similar to and has its roots in nhạc tài tử chamber music of south Việt Nam. As the central foundation to cải lương opera, it provides a framework for lyricism and instrumentation while being the only piece in the traditional southern repertoire to allow for extended improvisation. A full ensemble performing vọng cổ usually has a lục huyền cầm (guitar with carved fretboard), đàn kìm (moon lute), đàn tỳ ba (pear-shaped lute), đàn nhị (two-string fiddle), đàn tranh (sixteen-string zither), đàn bầu (monochord), and of course a singer.

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