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Ca Dao: Vietnamese Folk Poems | UbuWeb Ethnopoetics

1. Ca Dao: Vietnamese Folk Poems (10'00)

2. Audio commentary by John Balaban (18'00).

During the Vietnam war in 1971-72, John Balaban traveled the countryside in South Vietnam tape-recording the sung poetry known as ca dao, an oral tradition in which Vietnamese have been composing for hundreds of years. Sung by ordinary individuals without accompaniment, about 5000 ca dao are thought to exist at any one time. In the recorded songs presented here, background sounds sometimes include a battle and a pagoda bell. . Texts for some ca dao songs can be found in Ubuweb under Ethnopoetics: Poems, and the recordings with additional commentaries are also available at

John Balaban is Poet-in-Residence at North Carolina State University and currently a Guggenheim Fellow.

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