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International seminar on “The art of Đờn ca tài tử”

In Uncategorized on January 12, 2011 at 7:13 am

On January 9 an international seminar on “The art of Đờn ca tài tử and sentimental performance” was held in HCM city by the HCMC People’s Committee, Music Institute.


 


“Đờn ca tài tử “is a fading genre of folk music which developed and spread mainly in the south of Vietnam during the last century.


 


120 delegates from Germany, France, Cyprus, Malaysia, South Korea, Singapore and Japan attended the seminar held in Ho Chi Minh City from January 9-11.


 

Performing don ca tai tu in Sep 23 Park in HCM city

Since April 2010, under the guidance of Vice PM Nguyen Thien Nhan, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism in cooperation with HCMC People’s Committee and the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism of other southern cities and provinces has been conducting research to trace the origins and systemize the theory of this form of music to present to UNESCO for recognition as a world heritage art form. Signature songs of “Đờn ca tài tử “have been compiled to submit to UNESCO by March 2011, for recognition as an Intangible Cultural Heritage.


 


The seminar is aimed to raise the awareness of the world community on Vietnam’s “đờn ca tài tử”, which has long been one of the most-searched genres of music by foreign travelers, especially by those visiting the Mekong Delta. The seminar also encourages domestic and international preservation and development of the traditional values of “đờn ca tài tử”.


 


“Đờn ca tài tử” is worthy of representation of the southern region of Vietnam, alongside  “ca trù” and “quan họ” of the north, Hue royal court music of the central region and the gong music of Tay Nguyen, which has already been recognized as a cultural heritage by UNESCO.


 


Tran Van Khe, professor and master of Vietnamese traditional music claims that this unique art of music subtly combines both folk and scholarly features and also brings out the creativity of players as the genre is not firmly bound to any fixed formula.


 


Vinh Bao, a master musician stated during a regular music gathering held two weeks ago at the private house of professor Khe, that this art certainly has its rules but these rules are flexible to permit players to express their emotions in different tones, melodies and rhythms. He also believed that even though “đờn ca tài tử” was only 200 years old it should not be an obstruction in its effort to seek recognition as a heritage form.


 

Nguyen Vinh Bao, a master musician , who can play different don ca tai tu instruments

According to Prof Khe, UNESCO has expressed its interest in the reputation and status of “đờn ca tài tử” since 1960.   In 1963, UNESCO officially invited him and a local female singer Bach Hue to record a “đờn ca tài tử” clip entitled “Vietnam Traditions of the South” comprising of 11 tracks, which were later produced as part of a UNESCO Collection. In 1972 another “đờn ca tài tử” clip played by Professor Tran Van Khe and musician Vinh Bao playing different musical instruments was produced and publicized. In 1994, Ocora Radio France coordinated with the two masters and Hai Phuong, a female artist playing 16-chord zither, to produce two albums which became best-sellers in France during that year.


 


“Don ca tai tu” has won international acclaim and admiration, especially amongst connoisseurs of traditional music forms. South Korean expert Sheen Dae-Cheol is one such admirer who praises the charm and special characteristics of the genre. He is one of the dozens of experts who will participate in an international conference on “don ca tai tu”. Due to the influx of western and foreign music, Vietnamese traditional music genre of “don ca tai tu” has survived and not lost its unique musical flavor or aesthetics.


 


Hence it can aptly be concluded that “don ca tai tu” is a very valuable traditional music form which needs to be preserved and enjoyed for posterity. “Don ca tai tu” certainly merits its place on the world stage, notwithstanding being designated as a masterpiece of Oral and Intangible cultural and musical Heritage for all humanity.


 


 



 


Source: SGGP

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