Van-Anh Vanessa Vo

Vietnamese dan tranh

Master Vietnamese dan tranh musician Van-Anh Vanessa Vo (Photo: Khiem Do)The dan tranh, a plucked zither, is one of Vietnam's earliest instruments.  The dan tranh can be played as a solo instrument, as part of an orchestra, or as an accompaniment to other Vietnamese arts forms such as opera and poetry reading.  Its music accompanies special events such as the Tet Festival (Vietnamese New Year), weddings, and other ceremonial festivals.

Van-Anh Vanessa Vo began studying dan tranh at the age of four, and graduated with distinction from and taught at the Vietnam Academy of Music.  In 1995, Van-Anh won the championship in the Vietnam National Dan Tranh Competition.  She has since performed in more than fourteen countries, co-composed and recorded an Emmy winning soundtrack for the documentary Bolinao 52, and contributed to the soundtrack for the Academy Award nominated documentary Daughter from Danang.

Van-Anh was a master artist in ACTA's Apprenticeship Program in 2014, with apprentice Audrey Do, working to further develop her cultural and technical understanding of the dan tranh.

As a master artist in ACTA's Apprenticeship Program in 2011, Van-Anh worked with apprentice Lanie Quan.  During the apprenticeship, Lanie studied the techniques necessary to play the regional music of Northern, Central, and Southern Vietnam.

The following video features Vanessa playing the T'rung (bamboo xylophone) during a recording session for Bolinao 52's soundtrack.  Video courtesy of

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