Lullabies for Lost Children
Screening of the film and conversation with Ly Tran - Classical singer/performer (Vietnam/Denmark)
and Anders Haahr Rasmussen - Journalist/writer (Denmark).
Lullabies for Lost Children
Ly Tran was born in Vietnam in 1983. At the age of 5 she fled the country with her family as boat refugees and they settled in Denmark. In 2011 she graduated as a classical singer with a Master of music from the Danish National Academy of Music and spent a year in Berlin on scholarships taking private lessons. She has a special interest in contemporary music and is based in Copenhagen where she collaborates with composers in projects exploring themes and ideas relevant to modern existence. Email Ly Tran >
Anders Haahr Rasmussen (born 1979) is a Danish writer and journalist based in Copenhagen. Through articles, essays, books, podcasts and stage performances his work focuses mainly on sexuality, masculinity, gender equality and racism. His essays and articles have mostly appeared in the Danish national daily newspaper Dagbladet Information and online magazine Zetland. He holds an MA in Journalism from the University of Southern Denmark and an MA in Sociology from The New School for Social Research. Email Anders Haahr Rasmussen >
The project is about telling stories. Stories of escape seen from the point of view of those who stayed behind. In the years 1975-1990 almost two million Vietnamese fled their home country, half of them illegally in homebuilt boats, and settled across the world. Soprano Ly Tran and journalist Anders Haahr Rasmussen travelled to Vietnam to visit six Vietnamese women who stayed behind when their children fled. They did interviews, filmed and gathered lullabies from the women.
The lullabies were sent to composer James Black, who used the material to compose a contemporary piece for Ly Tran and the keyboard and percussion trio NEKO3.
James Black on the music: “The goal is not to combine East and West and make a tasteful piece in the Western contemporary classical tradition. The differences between the materials are highlighted, exploited, and ultimately celebrated.” The piece premiered in 2019 at KLANG – Copenhagen Avantgarde Music Festival and the performance of the piece was paired with video recordings from Vietnam.
The film is partly a documentary on five Vietnamese women, who stayed behind when their children fled Vietnam. In the film we see them in their homes and hear them tell their stories. The documentary is mixed with video recordings of the first performance of the music piece Lullabies for Lost Children. We see extracts of each of the four movements; each movement is based on a traditional Vietnamese lullaby.
Creating the concept/Background: Ly Tran is a former boat refugee from Vietnam and with this project she wanted to tell stories of escape seen from the point of view of those who stayed behind. The project is also a way to build a bridge, in Ly Tran’s case between her early years as a poor child in a Vietnamese village and her current life as a singer/performer in a European capital. Simultaneously it is an attempt to break up the boundary between the music that is orally passed on and rendered in close relations, and the music that is a part of a well-documented cultural history. The contrast between the simple lullabies sung through generations of mothers in a poor colonial country and their new interpretations in a contemporary classical composition mimes the contrast that accompanies the refugee experience for many people around the world.
Connect with Speakers: