Monday, October 24 2016


Traditional music a national treasure

Update: June, 12/2015 - 08:46
Last week, Viet Nam News asked its readers about incentives to promote its intangible cultural heritage to its tourists and to the world, and how they have enjoyed the country's music performances in public places.

Here are some of the comments.

Hara Kuh, Korean, HCM City

Intangible cultural heritage is part of a country's pride and significant historical remnants, which hold a country's deep traditions. Since it's a country with a long history with diverse cultural art and music, Viet Nam is open to numerous opportunities to promote its heritages. I've really enjoyed flamboyant Hue royal court music and traditional water puppet plays (mua roi Thang Long). The Hue Festival in 2008 left a strong impression on me. The harmony of modern and traditional performances stood out the most. Most importantly, I think it's crucial to naturally motivate younger generations and give them pride and deeper understanding about their cultures. They can promote their various traditions in this global society. For instance, in my country, there's an organisation called ‘Voluntary Agency Network of Korea', where the members there hold entertaining and creative activities such as video promotions, and volunteers act as tour guides around museums and cultural sites to introduce the country's culture.

Andrew Burden, Canadian, Ha Noi

I am all for trademarks and protecting identifiable cultural expressions. Having said that, I would rather be woken up late into the night by the growl of cats in heat, fighting. I really dislike traditional Chinese or Vietnamese music.

Scottish bagpipes are a completely different story. My mum's Scottish. I spent kindergarten there. There's something really cool about men wearing tartan kilts, underwear optional. When bagpipes blow & drums rattle-it's time for battle.

All culture is relative. It does not take an Italian to make pizza. Champagne may be protected and comes only from one province in France. Let other people make fizzy wine.

I think Viet Nam should promote its culture within the ASEAN community, when international guests visit and conventions take place-showcase your food, music, ethnic groups and clothing. In my grade school days, we had culture days and students dressed where their parents came from and brought in strange, exotic food.

John Boag, American, HCM City

Perhaps the fact that traditional Vietnamese music is not an attraction to most tourists is not because of the lack of venues or quality of artists but the art form is esoteric and out of sync with most visitors' musical desires; therefore, no amount of promotion will change the current situation.

If you want to know where the tourists go in Viet Nam to get their music buzz, check out the Hard Rock Cafe and clubs featuring good old rock and roll. So hammer down a few drinks and get out on the dance floor and rock your socks off.

Luong Nhi, Vietnamese, HCM City

Traditional Vietnamese music is definitely not my type, but there are still people around the world who might like it. First things first, we should educate young people like me about the beauty of our music because if our own people don't know anything about our own music then how can we promote it to the world? After that, the government should organise free performances at popular tourist sights. We can show how wonderful Vietnamese music is to other countries throughout the world.

Van Tri Minh, Vietnamese, HCM City

I have been to many traditional music shows and they inspired me in many ways. I think that we should perform our music for tourists and give away CDs, DVDs and books for free. Who doesn't like free stuff? Also, we could create a rhythm music game based on our traditional music and upload it on Appstore and Google Play for free. In conclusion, we should show the world that our traditional music is very interesting and we should be proud of it.

Andre Dubois, French, Ha Noi

A good model to consider is the art shows they put up in the Old Quarter of Ha Noi during the weekend when the whole area is turned into a large pedestrian zone. It was a really nice atmosphere and setting to enjoy various forms of traditional Vietnamese arts coupled with the comfort and refreshment offered by local shops.

It is also a good place for foreigners/tourists to mingle with the locals where questions may get an answer from the local standing right next to you. I think Ha Noi's Old Quarter model should receive more attention. Perhaps there might be some ways to improve it such as bringing more art forms to the grand show like water puppet, traditional circus or even a string quartet performance. Why limit yourself to only traditional arts? I'm sure there are fans of classical music that would greatly enjoy it. While it's not a form of traditional Vietnamese art, in the grand scheme of things, the whole Old Quarter itself could turn into a very attractive destination for tourists if it is not already one. — VNS

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