The French colonized Vietnam for nearly 100 years. During the period of French rule, Hanoi, the capital city, grew from a small market town into a bustling metropolis. The French colonizers beautified it with wide avenues and elegant mansions. The Hanoi Grand Opera House, a marvelous piece of neoclassical architecture, was erected by the French Government in 1911 in the heart of the city, to provide the French with cultural entertainment. It was not meant for the Vietnamese people themselves, who were losing patience with their foreign rulers.
On August 19, 1945, by order of Ho Chi Minh, the Communist leader of Vietnam’s independence movement, the people stormed into the government palace, near the Opera House, in an act that ignited the nine-year-long war that liberated Vietnam from France. The busy square in front of the Opera House is named after that historic occasion and is known as August Revolution Square.
On a warm tropical evening in June of this year, the square was blocked off for an open concert by the Israeli techno-pop-rock band ‘Gute Gute.’ The band, which has become one of Israel’s foremost musical acts, is composed of 5 young musicians who combine modern vibes with traditional Israeli folk music.
The Israeli Embassy in Hanoi brought the band to Vietnam to introduce their unique and energetic sound – this time to the Vietnamese people. The magnificent Opera House was used as the backdrop to their stage. The performance was organized by the Israeli Embassy in Vietnam in collaboration with the Vietnamese Ministry of Culture. In addition to the crowd in the square, the Vietnamese audience included hundreds of passersby, who watched the show from the backs of their motorbikes. Ambassador of Israel to Vietnam, Nadav Eshcar, said that this was the best way to introduce the beauty of Israel straight to the hearts of Israel’s Vietnamese friends. The band also performed in June at the Hue Festival, which is the biggest cultural festival in Vietnam.