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Posts Tagged ‘preserving’

Promoting and preserving Southern amateur music

In Uncategorized on December 24, 2010 at 4:35 am

Professor Tran Van Khe, the great master of traditional Vietnamese music, gave a lecture on don ca tai tu Nam bo (Southern amateur music) at his home in Binh Thanh District, Ho Chi Minh City.

Musician Vinh Bao (L) and Professor Tran Van Khe.

Don ca tai tu Nam bo is a long standing cultural tradition in the Mekong Delta region since the end of the 19th century.


The professor explained how this music is usually performed in festivals, ceremonious worships, parties, weddings and also funerals. It is traditionally played by southerners in the evening after a long working day.


Amateur musicians and singers who wish to train further and improve their skills in playing this folk music usually gather at a member’s house to play and exchange notes.


Southern amateur music cannot be found on modern day stage or in cultural and tourist festivals. This musical art form, a genre of the old chamber of music, is usually performed on ‘plank beds’ in living rooms in southern traditional homes.


The instruments used are the dan co or dan nhi, a two stringed fiddle; dan tranh or dan thap luc, a 16 string zither; dan kim or dan nguyet (also called the moon guitar) and the doc huyen cam (monochord). In present times the monochord has been replaced with a guitar.


According to Mr.Vinh Bao, another master of this traditional Vietnamese music, a special feature of Don ca tai tu is to bring together people who want to share the same emotions and to reach out to the sensibilities of the audience.


However, both the masters lamented that this art form had fallen into the realm of cultural oblivion and felt the need to restore and preserve this valuable cultural heritage.


The Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism has asked the National Music Institute and departments of Culture, Sport and Tourism in the South to build a file on southern music for submission to UNESCO  for recognition as an intangible part of the Vietnamese cultural heritage.

Source: SGGP

Restoring and preserving Southern amateur music

In Uncategorized on July 20, 2010 at 11:28 am

Don ca tai tu Nam bo (Southern amateur music) has fallen into the realm of cultural oblivion. We should restore and preserve this valuable cultural heritage soon,” said Vietnamese-American Professor Nguyen Thuyet Phong.

Vietnamese-American Professor Nguyen Thuyet Phong is on a visit to the Highlands region to study ethnic groups’ traditional music instruments. (Photo: Sggp)

The Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism has asked the National Music Institute and departments of Culture, Sport and Tourism in the South to build up a file on southern music for submission to UNESCO, in order for it to be recognized as an intangible part of Vietnamese cultural heritage.


“Southern amateur music cannot be found on modern stages or in cultural and tourism festivals. The musical art form, an ancient genre of chamber music, is usually performed on ‘plank beds’ in living rooms in southern traditional houses,” he added.


“Therefore we must pay more careful attention to seek artisans who have great skill in playing this folk music,” the professor said.


Age is not a necessary factor for recognizing folk music as an intangible aspect of cultural heritage. Although it was born 100 years ago and is a younger art form than Ca tru (Vietnamese ceremonial/festival songs) and Hue royal music, Southern amateur music is an amalgamation of Vietnamese traditional music from the North, Central and South, he explained.


The International Council for Traditional Music (ICTM) will be held in Hanoi and the northern coastal province of Quang Ninh from July 19 to 29, with the participation of more than 30 countries from around the world.

“It is a good chance for us to promote Vietnamese traditional music to the world and gain experience in restoring and preserving folk music from foreign countries,” Mr. Phong said.

ICTM is a non-governmental organization and an official associate organization of UNESCO. The Global ICTM conference, held every odd year; this is the first time Vietnam will host the event.

The conference will discuss two major musical topics: the music of ethnic minority groups and applied folk musicology with a focus on the role of music in maintaining the ethnic minority community, as well as the preservation of performing arts and the role of performing arts in dialogues, support and education.

Source: SGGP

Scholars discuss preserving traditional Giong Festival

In Uncategorized on April 21, 2010 at 10:33 am

Over 70 foreign and local scholars met at a seminar in Hanoi April 20 to discuss preserving the traditional Giong Festival, which has applied for recognition by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Mankind.

A Giong Festival procession at Soc Temple in Hanoi on April 20 (Photo: SGGP)

Meeting on the sidelines of the festival, which takes place in the capital annually from the 6th to the 12th of the fourth lunar month, the cultural scholars discussed ways of combining the festival with sustainable tourism initiatives.


They concurred that much work need to be done to improve the festival and preserve its authenticity. They agreed to push for the promotion of the festival in hopes that it would win the approval of the World Cultural Heritage Committee at UNESCO. The Giong Festival’s application has passed the first round of the process.


According to Vietnamese legend, Saint Giong, one of the country’s four immortal folk heroes, was born a small and week baby around 500 BC.


The story goes that when Vietnam was invaded from the north, a three-year-old Giong began to eat immense amounts of rice and soon grew into a giant. He then asked the king for an iron helmet, spear and horse, which he used to lead an army that defeated and expelled the powerful aggressors.


The epitome of Vietnamese resourcefulness, Giong fashioned a weapon out of bamboo when his iron spear broke in battle, according to the legend.


Having restored peace in Vietnam, Giong was named a saint and then bestowed the title of Emperor Phu Dong before he rode his iron horse into the sky. He is now remembered as a defender of the nation, a protector of crops and the embodiment of loyalty.


The festival to commemorate Saint Giong is held in Phu Dong village, Gia Lam district, Hanoi, as well as in some other parts of the capital including Phu Ninh village in Soc Son district and Xuan Dinh village in Tu Liem district. The main festival day is on the 9th day of the month.


The festival includes the performance of traditional rituals and arts by performers who have been taught specific skills for the festival handed down through the generations.


The festival is known as one of Vietnam’s more patriotic celebrations, glorifying the indomitable spirit of the Vietnamese people and the Vietnamese nation’s aspirations of independence and freedom.

Source: SGGP