Dinh Nghia* was born in Saigon,
and as one of Vietnam's premier flutists and master of the t'rung
or bamboo xylophone, he has has been an important figure in the preservation
of Vietnamese arts. He has performed in France and throughout Southeast
Asia, and spent nine years living with the Bahnar and Rade tribes of the
Central Highlands, learning their music and acquiring traditional instruments.
In 1984, he settled in the U.S. with his family. He has passed his knowledge
on to his children, all of whom play Vietnamese music. His daughter Doan
Trang graduated from the Saigon Conservatory of Music, and specializes
in the tam thap luc, a 36-string Zither. Daughter Nam Phuong
is particularly accomplished on the dan bau, a monochord unique
to Vietnam, which she studied with some of Vietnam's foremost masters.
Eldest son, Nguyen Dinh Nghi plays guitar, an instrument popular
in Vietnam for the past 50 years. The youngest members of the group are
twin sons Chien (war) and Hoa (peace). Nguyen Dinh Chien plays
t'rung (bamboo xylophone). Nguyen Dinh Hoa plays mo phach
or wooden bell. The
Nguyen Dinh Nghia and Family Ensemble has toured the U.S., performing
at universities, colleges and festivals. They have appeared at the Smithsonian
Institution and at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Folk Masters in 1993.