British Ethnomusicologist Presents His Film on Vietnamese Musicians


Dr. Barley Norton, noted ethnomusicologist in the music department at Goldsmiths, University of London, will be on the NIU campus to screen and discuss his film, "Hanoi Eclipse: The Music of Dai Lam Linh" on Monday, November 8, 2010.

Dr. Norton's documentary follows the challenges faced by the groundbreaking and controversial Vietnamese band Dai Lam Linh, while rehearsing and performing in their hometown of Hanoi. It shows how the band came together to create a unique form of popular music, which is both international in outlook and rooted in Vietnamese traditions and aesthetics. Followed by scandal at every turn for their experimental sound and their use of sexually explicit lyrics, the band have dared to flout taboos and fight for their creative freedom. Shunned by state-run organizations and disliked by the Vietnamese censors, the band was only able to record their debut album because of support from the Centre Culturel Fran├žais de Hanoi. Dai Lam Linh’s story of creative, political and financial struggle reveals what it is like to be a contemporary musician in a one-party state where cultural expression is tightly controlled.

Dai Lam Linh was established by the male composer, Dai, an ex-soldier who fought in the Second Indochina War (known as the “Vietnam War”), and two female singers, Lam and Linh. The film explores how Dai overcame the trauma of war by writing songs to honor the memory of the war dead and how the singers Lam and Linh embarked on an inner journey to discover their extraordinary voices. With vivid footage of the band working in the city of Hanoi, the film documents the process of recording Dai Lam Linh’s debut album in 2009 and features an album-launch concert in the prestigious Hanoi Opera House.

Dr. Norton will present his movie on Monday November 8th, in Music Building room 202 at 10:00 - 10:50 a.m., followed by Q&A in the Music Building conference room, room number 141, in order to continue the conversation.

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