A ‘Casual’ Recital: Tran ’03 Strums Her Guitar

Coming off her May 2nd Senior Concerto with the Amadeus Orchestra , Kim Tran ’03 presented a unique blend of music in her May 4th Senior recital. Nobody who experienced the recital would suspect that the featured artist has played the guitar for only a little over two years or that she is self-trained on the dan bau, a Vietnamese instrument. Even without that knowledge, students and faculty lucky enough to attend Tran’s recital were impressed with her beautifully personal performance, a fusion of classical guitar selections, original songs, and Vietnamese folk songs. Tran claimed the audience’s attention with three well-executed classical guitar solos: Study #1 by Frederic Hand, Spanish traditional song El Noy de la Mare, and El Testamen de N’amelia by Miguel Llobet. She was then joined by flutist Jeff Wessler ’03, in Serenata al Alba del Dia by Joaquin Rodrigo and Entr’acte by Jacques Ibert. The guitar and flute melodies blended together beautifully to the delight of all audience members. The audience was then treated to a sample from Tran’s Abbot Scholars project, a study into the music of her Vietnamese roots. Charming the audience with reminiscence of the folk songs her father sang to her as a child, Tran played the dan bau, a traditional singe-string instrument utilizing harmonics. She was joined by guest artist Le Anh Thao on dan tranh, another Vietnamese instrument. The sight of the foreign instruments was nearly as entrancing as the melodies that Tran and Thao created. Tran took up her guitar once more with a set of original pieces, displaying her dual talents as a vocalist and songwriter. She performed Green Amber with guitarist Josh Williams ’03, singing poetic, personal lyrics within the lines of an impressive original melody. Joined by alto Katie Dlesk ’03, a fellow band member from the all-female band Todd Dekk, Tran also shared two songs she wrote in conjunction with her the band. Long Days, a rebellion against the trials of Upper winter that shed the image of a typical girly rock band, and Rain Song. Tran created the music while the band wrote the lyrics as a group. The two girls finished off with I’m Sensitive, a song by Jewel Kilcher. Throughout the afternoon, Tran’s recital never lagged, pushed along by the interesting and unique mix of musical selections. Tran’s quirky comments between pieces also added to the informal, friendly atmosphere. She successfully displayed her many talents as a guitarist, vocalist, and dan bau player in her thoroughly enjoyable senior recital.