First off, I sure wish the Net would switch over to Unicode so I could type Vietnamese characters.
Second, I wish I knew exactly what the proper title and artist of this piece is. I tend to choose what track to upload at the last minute in a “first thought, best thought” fashion. If I had decided on upoading this last week, say, I would have had the foresight to nab a translation. (There’s still time.) Despite that, I’m reasonably sure this is an example of cai luong, a “classical” type of Vietnamese theater music played on traditional instruments. The record dates from the mid- to late 20s, as far as I can tell.
Beka was sold to Columbia in 1926, although the Beka imprint seemed to last at least until the early 1930s. The company made at least 140 recordings in Vietnam, and had a considerable presence in Asia throughout the early part of the century, having begun to record there since ca. 1906, when they first landed in Hong Kong.
The singers are accompanied by a bamboo flute (either the sao, or the tieu), a bowed instrument (probably a dan gao or dan nhi), and a plucked lute of some kind.
Technical Notes Label: Beka Issue Number: B 20107 Matrix Number: 92380