Friday, June 22 2018


Last of ca tru oldtimers to perform in Ha Noi

Update: June, 12/2012 - 10:11


Everything old is new again: Veteran ca tru singer Pho Thi Kim Duc (centre) will perform with her students in the show tomorrow night at the French Cultural Centre. — File Photo
HA NOI — Pho Thi Kim Duc, the only remaining singer from the 1930-40s ca tru (ceremonial singing) group Kham Thien, will perform at the French Cultural Centre in Ha Noi tomorrow.

Duc, aged 80, will share the stage with her ca tru students who are known in cheo (traditional opera) circles, including Dang Cong Hung from the Cheo Theatre of Viet Nam, Doan Thanh Binh from the Viet Nam College of Theatre and Cinema and People's Artist Nguyen Xuan Hoach from the Viet Nam National Music Song and Dance.

The show will feature songs in different styles such as Ho Tay (West Lake) composed by Nguyen Khuyen and Trang An Hoai Co (Nostalgic Trang An) by Nguyen Cong Tru.

Duc was born and raised with ca tru, her father being choirmaster at the Kham Thien ca tru group in Ha Noi.

She studied ca tru from age seven and was a performer at age 13. At 15, she helped organise a fund raising programme at the Ha Noi Opera House to help the newly established government fight one of the worst famines in Viet Nam's history.

Ca tru was once considered a diversion for the elite in the feudal-colonial era and had no place in Vietnamese society after the French left.

Like other ca tru performers, Duc had to take up other jobs to earn money. She went to the Voice of Viet Nam radio to sing cheo traditional opera and after her retirement devoted her time to researching ca tru.

In 1998, she began handing down ca tru to her cheo traditional opera students and in 2006 Duc founded the Trang An Ca Tru Group.

Ca tru, also known as hat a dao, which dates back to the 15th century, has been listed among 12 intangible global cultural heritage traditions in danger of disappearing.

It is a precious part of Viet Nam's cultural treasure which was recognised by UNESCO as a world intangible cultural heritage in 2010.

Entrance is free to the show which will begin at 8pm at 24 Trang Tien Street. — VNS

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