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Bob Dylan set for first-ever Vietnam show

08 april 2011, 18:20
0
©AFP
©AFP
Legendary American musician Bob Dylan, whose songs became anthems of the 1960s anti-Vietnam War era, blows into Ho Chi Minh City on Sunday for his first-ever concert in the communist nation, AFP reports.

While the symbolism is stark for members of the West's ageing "counter-culture" generation, many in youthful Vietnam have never heard of the man who wrote "Blowin' in the Wind" and other songs of protest and struggle.

But about half of Vietnam's population is under the age of 30 with no memory of the years of war with the United States.

"They don't have any political connection with the era in which Bob Dylan became famous," said Chuck Searcy, a Vietnam War veteran who has lived in the country since 1995.

Dylan will play in Vietnam's largest and most-westernised city, the former Saigon, as part of an Asia-Pacific tour marking 50 years since his first major performance on April 11, 1961.

He heads to Vietnam from Shanghai, where he performs Friday night after a China debut in Beijing on Wednesday.

After reportedly banning a concert by Dylan last year, Beijing agreed he could perform if his songs were vetted by censors.

Vietnam's foreign ministry spokeswoman, Nguyen Phuong Nga, could not say whether Dylan's songs would have to be reviewed by Vietnamese authorities, but a review by censors would be normal procedure.

Washington and the European Union this week expressed concern over human rights and free expression in Vietnam after a high-profile dissident was jailed for anti-state propaganda activities, including advocating an end to one-party rule.

Nga, of the foreign ministry, said the concert was being eagerly anticipated in the country of 86 million.

"I trust that the concert will be held very successfully," she said. For the Vietnamese, Dylan's visit is significant because he is a major international artist, not because he is associated with the anti-war movement, he added.

Dylan will play an 8,000-seat venue at RMIT University.

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