Vietnam has an astonishing wealth of unique and beautiful musical instruments. There are huge kettle drums, two-metre tall marimbas, plaintive bows and sonorous flutes, plucked strings and delicate dulcimers. They arrived over the centuries the country has spent at the heart of South East Asia – a cultural crossroads where the great civilisations of the continent encountered themselves: India and China, Indonesia and the great Empire of Angkor met in Vietnam. In the country’s forest-swathed mountains and on its golden beaches, they encountered myriad melodies and harmonies preserved by tribal peoples from all over South East Asia. In the cities they met with the European classical tradition brought to Hanoi and Saigon’s newly built opera houses and concert halls by the French. And through the genius of the Vietnamese people all these influences were forged into something something unique, fresh and new – as sophisticated as a Buddhist temple and as natural as the waterfalls that fill Vietnam’s beautiful forests.
The Rainbow Show is a joyful presentation of Vietnam’s musical wealth. The show brings the familiar and the new to its audience. There are Western standards and contemporary compositions created especially for the Rainbow Show by its musical director Quang Le. All the music is played on these unique Vietnamese instruments, accompanied by one of Vietnam’s most prestigious symphony orchestra and set against a projected backdrop of beautiful landscapes and scenes from all over the country.
“With the Rainbow Show I wanted to bring Vietnamese musical instruments back into awareness here in my native Saigon,” says music director Quang Le. “I wanted to re-invigorate them, to bring them back to life. Now I want to share their beauty with the rest of the world. We have a treasure trove of music here in Vietnam. Now it is time for everybody to become enchanted with it, for everyone to discover the magical music of Vietnam.”