Nguyen Le & Ngo Hong Quang – Ha Noi Duo 2017

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Born in France, the rock and jazz guitarist Nguyên Lê is fascinated by the traditional music of his parents’ homeland, Vietnam.

He recorded a fine series of albums with Huong Thanh, and now comes a collaboration with Ngô Hông Quang, a soulful young singer who plays an array of Vietnamese instruments, including the dàn nhi fiddle. They are joined by Indian tabla, Japanese koto, and the cool trumpet work of Paolo Fresu on a sophisticated global fusion project that veers between thoughtful collaborations and atmospheric anthems aimed at Lê’s western followers.

‘Heaven’s Gourd’ is a gently exquisite mix of Vietnamese lute and acoustic guitar, ‘A Night with You, Gone’ is an emotional ballad enhanced by guitar and trumpet, while ‘Beggar’s Love Song’ cleverly matches an ancient Vietnamese melody with a bluesy riff. One moment you are among mountain clouds, then Lê unleashes a storm of widdly-diddly electric axe. An impressive set – but it didn’t need the wash of programmed effects on several tracks.

Nguyên Lê / guitars & programming
Ngô Hồng Quang / vocals, Vietnamese fiddle, monocorde, lute & jew’s harp
Paolo Fresu / trumpet & flugelhorn
Mieko Miyazaki / koto
Prabhu Edouard / tablas, kanjira & pocket shaker

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