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Proposal aims to have folk singing listed as intangible heritage

Update: March, 26/2013 - 08:34
Performers during a vi giam folk singing show. A dossier on the genre has been prepared to nominate it for UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage listing. — VNA/VNS Photo Nguyen Thuy

HA NOI (VNS)— A dossier on folk singing in the central provinces of Nghe An and Ha Tinh has been prepared as part of a nomination for UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2014.

A dossier on the singing, called vi giam, will be submitted to UNESCO by Sunday, according to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

The singing, vi giam, derived from spoken repartee while working, plays an important role in the cultural life of the people in the two provinces where many active vi giam singing clubs and professional singers train and perform, the ministry said.

Musician Nguyen Trong Tao said vi giam singing reflected the work, cultural lives and feelings of residents, expressing hard work on inhospitable land, optimism and encouragement for each other, and confidence between men and women.

The singing had simple lyrics, like poems, that were easy to remember and sing, anytime, anywhere people work: in fields or forest or on boats, Tao said.

Vi giam singing was adaptable. Its melodies were sung on stages, at art festivals and in schools and offices. Many musicians used tunes in their works, and performed them on stage.

Tao said what made vi giam singing a strong candidate for World Intangible Heritage was its age-old origin, its adaptation to modern times and its importance in people's lives.

Artist Hong Luu, deputy director of the Nghe An Folk Singing Preservation and Development Centre, said each folk song was imbued with the character of some region in the Nghe An-Ha Tinh area.

In fact, it was the soul and the personality of the people, An said.

"Vi giam songs are restricted in terms of music, but their lyrics are diverse and profound."

Viet Nam now has seven examples recognised by UNESCO as world intangible heritage, namely Hue's royal court music, gong space culture in Tay Nguyen (Central Highlands), quan ho (the northern province of Bac Ninh's love duet singing), the Saint Giong festival, ca tru (ceremonial singing), xoan (spring) singing, and Hung Kings' worship. — VNS

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