Journey to playing didgeridoo flute
Huynh Tan Vu, 31, has been famous on social networking sites. The video clip recording a scene of him and his wife singing recent hit songs while playing the didgeridoo flute, hang drum and djembe drum at the ‘Clay Tunnel’ tourism area in Da Lat city has been continuously shared. Vu has also frequently appeared on TV shows as ‘the first didgeridoo flutist in Vietnam’.
Previously, he used to work as the Secretary of the Youth Union of Ward 2 in Da Lat city. At an exchange among the local youth unions, he overheard the sentence ‘Tieng anh am nhu hoi tho – Em nghe de nho suot doi’ (Your sound is as warm as the breath – I hear to remember for all my life) in the song ‘Tinh yeu tren dong song quan ho´(Love on the River of Love Duet) by late musician Phan Lac Hoa. From this verse, Vu wondered about finding a reasonable instrument to make his voice warmer, aiming to help him sing better.
By chance, Vu saw a video on a Youtube channel in which a girl was playing a flute with an eye-catching shape. Vu was absolutely fascinated by the flute’s sound. He said: “This sound brings listeners into a vast space of the forests and mountain, creating a relaxed feeling”.
After his deep study, Vu discovered that the flute was called a ‘didgeridoo’, a traditional instrument of Australian Aborigines. It appeared thousands of years ago in the Yolngu Aboriginal tribes in the northwest of Arnhem (Northern Australia).
Once he found a person owning this flute in Hanoi, Vu sold his motorcycle and went to the capital to negotiate the purchase of the flute. Owning the dream instrument, he decided to stay in Hanoi to learn how to play didgeridoo. During his time in the capital city, Vu had to work many jobs to earn his living. Every day, after finishing all his work, he sat nearby Truc Bach lake to practice the flute. “I realised that in addition to making listeners feel relaxed, this flute can help me unwind”.
Vu found it very hard to find documents related to didgeridoo flute via internet, but he still did not give up. “Once, a Malaysian visitor stopped to listen to me practicing the flute and gave me a money note. The first money earned from music promoted my determination of pursuing a music career seriously”, he said.
Pursuing passion of music
In 2013, Huynh Tan Vu’s relative introduced him to join the Vietnam Music Development Centre in Hanoi. He was then frequently invited to perform at several small stages. Recalling his first performance in Thanh Hoa province along with other artists from the centre, he happily said that although the programme was held in a village’s temple with few audiences, he felt that he was performing in front of millions of spectators.
Musician Thao Giang, the Centre’s Director, appreciated Vu’s passion for music. Whenever Vu plays didgeridoo, he seems to forget everything around him”.
After becoming proficient in didgeridoo, he began learning other instruments to mix with the flute. He said: “I did not want tofind popular instruments but wished to own eye-catching ones that are not only good for my health but also containing humanitarian meaning and unique cultural identities”. Therefore, Vu chose hang drum from Switzerland and djembe drum from Africa. With musical knowledge and support from his wife Vu,acquaintance with new instruments has been easier.
In just a short time, Vu has cleverly combined the three instruments together, creating interesting music pieces. Since the early 2018, he and his wife have performed at the ‘Clay Tunnel’ tourism area, attracting the attention of many people. Many arrivals to Da Lat even visited this tourism area to just exchange with the couple.
However, Vu has not been satisfied with the things he has so far. He is nurturing the launch of a book about didgeridoo as well as other traditional instruments from many countries around the world to help Vietnamese music loverslearn more about cultural characteristics and their effects.