Bill and Sue-On Hillman: A 50-Year Musical Odyssey


PAGE 37b:
3. Delta Blues
A real highlight was being entertained by local musicians. After a snack of tropical fruits and tea, five musicians brought in with their traditional instruments on which they played Vietnamese folk tunes. 

Bill was especially fascinated with the amplified one-string dan bau. It consisted of a long piece of wood on which a guitar string was stretched and fastened at one end by a peg. It was tied at the other end to a flexible bamboo plate with an attached stick that the player used to change the pitch by stretching the string.  Dan bau had no frets, but different notes were also achieved by picking the string at different positions along the neck. 

Bill had a great time trying out the different sounds. He then moved to the guitar. The guitar's neck had hollowed out places behind the frets so that fingers could more easily bend the notes. . .  great for playing a different style of "Delta Blues" :)

A gent and four girls then filed in to sing solo and group songs for our entertainment. The musicians backed them on all their songs. The songs were mostly traditional folk songs, although we were surprised by their rendition of "Jingle Bells" -- a song we are more accustomed to hearing when there is snow on the ground and the temperature is about 60 degrees cooler. 

We were somewhat surprised and delighted by this song choice because we had also heard it in Singapore on our last visit to China. There a group of Chinese musicians played it instrumentally in a lush garden setting and Bill joined them to sing along in English. The song appears to be a hit all over Asia as a search on YouTube will verify.

The other traditional instruments were cool too, but we weren't quite as fascinated with them since we have similar versions of them in our music studio on our guitar wall.

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1. On the Waters ~ 2. Jungle Fruit ~ 3. Delta Blues ~ 4. Jungle Walk  ~ 5. Snakes & Bees
Alternates 1 ~ Alternates 2

Copyright 2015
Bill and Sue-On Hillman