July 22, 2009, 12:01 pm
Filed under: Vietnam

My apologies for the long delays between posts, I was sidetracked by some Greek music projects and summer vacation. So, without further delay, here is the first of a short series of records from Vietnam.

This record was recorded in 1927 for Victor’s 40000 series, a mysterious group of recordings from Indochina, as it was then called. I have yet to find any solid discographical information on this series aside from a mention of the above dialects in an old Victor catalog (thanks to Du Jun Min). This series is followed by the 42000 series of Chinese (mostly Cantonese) records.

I was fortunate to have Terry Miller translate and annotate a small group of records in this series. He writes:

This is a hat cheo theater song, Tả cảnh cô đầu thua bạc (describing a singer who lost her competition). The genre is cheo cai luong (reformed cheo theater), the singer is Dao (Ms.) Nha, and the place is rạp Cải Lương Hý Viên Hanoi (the Cai Luong Theater of Hanoi).

(Hat Cheo is an ancient form of vernacular theater from North Vietnam that reached it’s peak in the 19th century. It includes satire, songs, dances and skits.
Annamite refers to a region of central Vietnam then called Annam, but at the time was used to refer generally to all Vietnamese people. -Haji Maji)

>VICTOR 40027a


Please have a look and listen at Excavated Shellac’s current post from Laos!


9 Comments so far
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Good to see you back. This is a beauty!

Comment by gracenotes


Comment by icastico

[…] if you haven’t checked it out yet, be sure and grab Haji Maji’s latest post from Vietnam – an excellent […]

Pingback by Unknown Laotian Group – Lao-tenh « Excavated Shellac

great to have you back posting!
was terry able to translate any of the lao records?

Comment by peter

Brilliant post Haji Maji!
Always Nice to see your posts, this one particularily beautiful! I would love to hear the flip-side as well I look forward to your excursion to Laos and will be happy to follow your blog again!
Much of the Cantonese and Hokkienese material you have posted earlier is brilliant and as I have said before. Should you need any help with the Chinese characters reading transcriptions and meaning I would be happy to help! Just holler…

best wishes


Comment by bolingo

“Tả cảnh cô đầu thua bạc” translates as “Describing The Scene of the Songstress Losing At Gambling.” The rạp Cải Lương Hý Viên was located at the corner of Hàng Bạc and phố Tạ Hiện in Hà Nội. This must be an actress from Trần Phềnh’s troupe. Where do you find these recordings? If you have any more Vietnamese sounds, please post them.

Comment by Jason

“thua” in this case means “to collect or gather” referring to the moment the performance ended and the “cô đầu” circles the spectators collecting money.

Exellent collection.

Comment by Vietvista

Please disregard the above correction on “thua.” The translation by Professor Miller is correct. The first line on the record with “…canh nao cung thua” favors the the “gambling” connotation.

Much apology.

Comment by Vietvista

There are some interesting cut-off dates
in this article however I don’t know if I see all of
them heart to heart. There’s some validity but I will take hold opinion till I look into it

further. Good article , thanks and we want more! Added to FeedBurner as


Comment by Sheldon

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