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Nguyễn Thanh Thủy



Nguyễn Thanh Thủy was born into a theatre family and was raised with traditional Vietnamese music from an early age in Hà Nội, Vietnam. She studied at the Hanoi Conservatory of Music where she received her diploma in 1998, followed by a Master of Arts at the Institute of Cultural Studies in 2003. ​She has received many distinctions including the First Prize and the Outstanding Traditional Music Performer Prize in the National Competition of Zither Talents in 1998. She has toured in Asia, Europe and the USA. Nguyễn Thanh Thủy has recorded several CD’s as soloist with orchestra and solo CDs, which were released by Phương Nam Film Vietnam; by dB Productions Sweden; by Setola di Maiale Italia and by Neuma Records & Publications USA. Between 2021-22 Nguyễn was an international postdoctoral research fellow at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, and at the Institute of Arts, Faculty of Education Western Norway University of Applied Sciences. Her artistic research project Music and identity in diaspora is funded by the Swedish Research Council.

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Stateless Mind #5

Duration: 30 mins


The first part of this performance explores the Vọng Cổ, a traditional piece from the south of Vietnam, music which also has been a centerpiece in southern style theatre. By situating fragmented versions of the piece in a frame of free improvisation, we seek to bring out different facets of the music, and consider how its expressive framework remains current in the present day. 


In this performance, we also return to experimentation we made with traditional Tuồng theatre, launched in a collaboration with the choreographer Marie Fahlin, the director Jörgen Dahlqvist and our group The Six Tones. We will use fragments of this work, centered around a single character, the female general Đào Tam Xuân. The conceptual point of departure in the original project was the notion that Tuồng theatre could be seen as a kind of proto-feminist expression in Vietnamese culture, and this female general is one example.  Đào Tam Xuân is tale of a female general whose husband was executed due to the ill doings of the queen, and whose son was killed when attempting to prevent the execution. The scene we return to is when she receives these news, and builds on the choreographic expression of grief and anguish in this scene.

Stateless Mind #4

Title - Echoic Memory              Duration: 30 mins

In this performance, the Vietnamese đàn tranh player Nguyễn Thanh Thủy and the Swedish guitarist Stefan Östersjö, two members of the intercultural group The Six Tones, present a series of experimental performances of iconic Vietnamese popular music, often referred to as Yellow Music. This music has become emblematic of Vietnamese diasporic culture, and their experimental versions seek to give the music renewed currency and allow for a renegotiation of its meaning.

Stateless Mind #3

Yellow Music in Diaspora

The video Echoic Memory contains footage from zoom interviews with thirteen Vietnamese women living in diaspora. It was made in spring 2021, during the Covid-19 pandemic, and features an experimental recording of the song Phôi Pha by The Six Tones with the singer Ngô Hồng Gấm and a solo đàn tranh version by Nguyễn Thanh Thủy of the song Còn Thương Rau Đắng Mọc Sau Hè. In this video we encounter first- and second-generation women of both voluntary and forced immigrants from Vietnam. 

The work has been carried out as part of the postdoctoral artistic research project “Music and Identity in Diaspora: novel perspectives on female Vietnamese immigrants in Scandinavia”, and it builds on the author’s experience as a professional đàn tranh player on the Vietnamese traditional music scene, and on her long-term collaboration with performers and composers from the Vietnamese/Swedish group The Six Tones. The purpose of the project is to determine how music contributes to identity formation among Vietnamese immigrants, with a particular focus on the role of different musical traditions in this context. The aims of the project are (a) to provide a more robust understanding of how music contributes to identity and social cohesion in immigrant communities; (b) to identify patterns of gendered behaviour in immigrant communities across generations; and (c) to develop effective strategies—including experimental music practices and other artistic expressions—that promote reduction of social inequalities among immigrant communities.

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