Introducing Vietnamese Psychedelic Rock

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Looking for something new to listen to? Check out this blog post introducing Vietnamese psychedelic rock – a genre that combines traditional Vietnamese music with Western psychedelic influences. You’re sure to find something you’ll enjoy!

The Origins of Vietnamese Psychedelic Rock

Psychedelic rock, also referred to as “acid rock”, is a style of rock music that emerged in the mid-1960s and is characterized by its distorted sound, use of feedback, and extended jam sessions. The first psychedelic rock bands were The Grateful Dead and The Beatles. The style of music quickly spread to Vietnam, where it became known as “Vietnamese Psychedelic Rock”.

The American War and its Aftermath

The American War and its aftermath had a profound and lasting effect on Vietnamese music. The conflict brought about not only a massive influx of Western rock and pop music, but also new technologies that enabled Vietnamese musicians to create and perform their own music.

During the war, American soldiers stationed in Vietnam introduced local people to Western rock and pop music. This music was often played on the Armed Forces Radio Vietnam (AFRV) which could be heard all over the country. Vietnamese people quickly grew to love this new type of music, and many young people began to play it themselves.

After the war ended, many American soldiers left Vietnam, taking their musical instruments with them. This left a void in the Vietnamese music scene that was soon filled by local bands who began performing their own brand of rock and pop music. These bands would go on to form the foundation of what is now known as Vietnamese psychedelic rock.

The Role of Reunification

In 1975, the war in Vietnam finally came to an end. Communist North Vietnamese forces captured the South’s capital, Saigon, and unified the country under a single government. This event, known as the Reunification, had a profound impact on the music scene in Vietnam.

For nearly two decades, the country had been split in two, with each side fighting for control. This period of conflict saw musicians forced to flee the country or be conscripted into the military. Music was often used as a tool of propaganda, with both sides using it to build support for their respective causes.

After the Reunification, many of these restrictions were lifted and musicians were able to freely express themselves again. This newfound freedom coincided with a renewed interest in Western popular culture, which had been largely absent during the years of war.

One of the most popular genres of music during this time was psychedelic rock. Inspired by Western bands such as The Beatles and The Doors, Vietnamese musicians began experimenting with new sounds and styles. This new music was often critical of the government and society, reflecting the feelings of many young people who were disillusioned with the state of their country.

Psychedelic rock quickly gained popularity among Vietnam’s youth and became one of the most influential genres of music in the country. Many of Vietnam’s most iconic bands, such as Daemonia and Sublime Frequency, started out playing this style of music. Today, psychedelic rock is still popular in Vietnam and continues to influence new generations of musicians.

The Sound of Vietnamese Psychedelic Rock

Psychedelic rock is a style of rock music that is inspired, or influenced by, psychedelic culture and attempts to replicate and enhance the mind-altering experiences of psychedelic drugs. It often uses new recording techniques and effects and draws on non-Western sources such as the raga drone of Indian classical music.

Elements of the Sound

When we think of psychedelic rock, we often think of the West Coast sounds coming out of California in the late 1960s. But what about the East Coast? More specifically, what about Vietnam?

Just as the Vietnam War was heating up in the 1960s, so too was the country’s music scene. And at the center of it all was a new genre of music: Vietnamese psychedelic rock.

characteristically features distortion-heavy guitars, mind-bending solos, and hypnotic rhythms. It’s a sound that would not be out of place on a classic psychedelic rock album like The Doors’ “Strange Days” or Jimi Hendrix’s “Electric Ladyland.”

But what sets Vietnamese psychedelic rock apart from its Western counterpart is its unique fusion of Eastern and Western influences. You can hear it in the way the guitars mimic the sound of traditional Vietnamese instruments like the đàn tranh and đàn nguyệt, or in the use of traditional Vietnamese vocal techniques. This fusion gives Vietnamese psychedelic rock a sound that is distinctly its own.

If you’re looking for something different from your usual psychedelic fare, then you’ll want to check out Vietnamese psychedelic rock. It’s a sound that is sure to take you on a trip.

Influences on the Sound

Vietnamese psychedelic rock is indebted to both the Western psychedelic tradition and the unique sounds of Vietnamese music. One of the most significant influences on the sound of Vietnamese psychedelic rock is traditional Vietnamese music, which includes both the ca trù and đàn nhạc tài tử traditions.

Ca trù is a type of chamber music that was popular among the intellectual elite in Vietnam during the 18th and 19th centuries. It is characterized by its use of four string instruments, including the lute-like đàn nhị, and often features complex and hypnotic rhythms. Đàn nhạc tài tử, on the other hand, is a more recent tradition that developed in south Vietnam in the early 20th century. It combines elements of Chinese opera with traditional Vietnamese music, and is characterized by its use of vocalists and percussion instruments.

Both ca trù and đàn nhạc tài tử have left a lasting impression on Vietnamese psychedelic rock, which often incorporates complex rhythms and hypnotic melodies.

The Scene Today

Psychedelic rock is a genre of rock music that is inspired, or influenced by, psychedelic culture and attempted to replicate and enhance the mind-altering experiences of psychedelic drugs. It often used new recording techniques and effects and drew on non-Western sources such as the ragas and drones of Indian music. Psychedelic rock first reached prominence in the late 1960s with the release of albums by The Beatles and The Jimi Hendrix Experience.

The New Generation

Psychedelic rock was Vietnam’s answer to Western rock music in the late 1960s and 1970s. The genre is characterized by distorted guitars, feedback, and psychedelic effects. Vietnamese artists incorporated traditional instruments such as the đàn nguyệt (two-stringed fiddle) and the đàn tranh (16-string zither) into their sound, giving it a distinctly Vietnamese flavor.

The first generation of Vietnamese psychedelic rockers were influenced by British and American bands such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and Jimi Hendrix. They created a distinctive sound that was unlike anything else coming out of Vietnam at the time. The second generation of Vietnamese psychedelic rockers took things a step further, incorporating elements of traditional Vietnamese music into their sound.

The third generation of Vietnamese psychedelic rockers is currently making waves on the international stage. Bands like Orange Field and Red Eyes are gaining popularity in Vietnam and abroad for their catchy tunes and unique fusion of Western and Eastern influences.

The Legacy of Vietnamese Psychedelic Rock

Vietnamese psychedelic rock is a genre of music that emerged in the late 1960s and early 1970s, during and after the Vietnam War. The music is characterized by its use of electric guitars, bass guitars, drums, and keyboard instruments, as well as traditional Vietnamese instruments such as zithers, flutes, and percussion. Western influences such as blues and surf rock can also be heard in Vietnamese psychedelic rock.

Psychedelic rock began to take root in Vietnam during the late 1960s. American troops stationed in the country introduced the genre to Vietnamese musicians, who were already familiar with Western pop and rock music. The first Vietnamese psychedelic band was White Flag, which was formed in Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City) in 1968. White Flag’s music was heavily influenced by the British band Cream. Other early Vietnamese psychedelic bands included Purple Heaven and Yellow Monkeys.

The peak of Vietnamese psychedelic rock came during the early 1970s. This was a time of political and social turmoil in Vietnam, as the country was embroiled in a civil war between communist North Vietnam and anti-communist South Vietnam. Many young people turned to psychedelic rock as a way to express their dissatisfaction with the war and the government. The most popular band of this era was Photongame, whose song “Saigon Moon” became an anthem for the anti-war movement.

By the mid-1970s, however, Vietnamese psychedelic rock was on the decline. The civil war came to an end in 1975, with communist forces victorious. This resulted in a crackdown on dissent and freedom of expression, which made it difficult for bands to continue making music. In addition, many musicians left Vietnam during this period, either because they were drafted into military service or because they wanted to escape the country’s new regime. As a result, Vietnamese psychedelic rock all but disappeared from public view.

In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in Vietnamese psychedelic rock among younger generations of Vietnamese people. This has led to a new wave of bandsformed who are inspired by the music of the 1960s and 1970s. These bands are helping to keep alive the legacy of Vietnamese psychedelia and bringing it to new audiences both inside and outside of Vietnam.

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