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Gwennili Live from … Everywhere!

A French-Vietnamese Musical Diaspora Comes Together During the Coronavirus Pandemic

By Dave Fox
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
April 18, 2020

I play the violin in Gwennili, a Breton / French band based in Ho Chi Minh City. I infiltrated Gwennili a couple of years ago as the first non-French person in the group after their previous violinist announced he was moving to Belgium.

The group, whose origins are rooted in Brittany (Bretagne), the Celtic region of northwestern France, has existed in Saigon for around a decade. Over the years, musicians have come and gone. Many have moved back to France or taken new jobs elsewhere in the world.

After the coronavirus outbreak forced us to cancel our monthly gigs and weekly practices, one of our former lead singers, Mika, thought it would be fun to create a video for our fans.

Our Saigon-based guitarist, Yoann, and one of our singers, Soazig, played a preliminary track and sent it to all of us. We then each put on headphones and recorded our own tracks, which we e-mailed to Mika in Singapore.

The result: 19 current and former members of Gwennili in Vietnam, Singapore, Hong Kong, France, the Netherlands, and Guadeloupe, playing a physically distanced (but not socially distanced) French tune on YouTube.

Published on Friday, April 17, 2020

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