Dr. David Dao Used to Be a Famous Musician in 1970s Vietnam

Dr. David Dao, the unfortunate (but now probably incredibly rich) passenger assaulted and dragged off a United Airlines flight earlier this month, was apparently an accomplished musician in Saigon before he left for the U.S. in 1975.

Dr. Dao was particularly known as a songwriter who held two folk-themed titles, “Tat Nuoc Dau Dinh” and “Ta Ve Ta Tam Ao Ta,” the latter of which won him the top prize of a music competition.

When news of his terrible experience broke out, Vietnamese sources easily identified him as Dao Duy Anh, the popular musician based in Ho Chi Minh City in the 1970s. Nguyen Thuy Hoan, a music teacher, confirmed that he is one of her old students at the former Saigon National Music School.

Hoan told Tuoi Tre News that Dr. Dao even founded his own band called Bach Viet, which consisted of medical, pharmacy, dentistry and engineering students in the school.

Image Screenshot via YouTube user Kim Long Vũ Huỳnh

Tran Bo, who happened to be a member, recalled Dr. Dao as one of the band’s most talented people, mastering zither and dan nhia two-string instrument.

After graduating from the university in 1974, Dr. Dao moved to the US.. the following year. His creative pursuits, however, went on.

This time, he immersed in the culinary arts as a student at Louisville, Kentucky’s Sullivan University, Saigoneer noted. There, he helped instructors improve their Vietnamese cooking skills.

Katie Payne, chef at the school’s National Center for Hospitality Studies, told the New York Post:

“He prepared some very authentic Vietnamese dishes and gave us some guidance on a couple more authentic dishes during class.”

Watch one of his performances:

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