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"Fusion": sounds, spectacles on City streets

Update: June, 04/2017 - 09:00
Saturday night lights: The show provides HCM City residents and tourists with an entertainment venue every Saturday and Sunday. – VNS Photo An Phương
Viet Nam News

By An Phương

With a new show every weekend, Nguyễn Huệ Pedestrian Street in downtown HCM City has never been more fun!

Though street performances have been around for some time, city authorities decided this year to create a more professional event called the Hồ Chí Minh City Street Show.

The performances, which take place from 8pm to 9pm every Saturday and Sunday, feature artists who specialise in different genres of street art.

Six stages have been set up along Nguyễn Huệ Street for performances, according to the city’s Department of Tourism.

Even though the stages do not have high-end loudspeakers or fancy decorations, each stage embraces a signature theme and setting, ensuring that pedestrians will be excited by the “wow” factor.

Since the first day of opening on May 13, the performances have attracted huge crowds of locals and tourists.

“I don’t usually pay attention to backgrounds. But different set-ups make it more memorable, and it’s even more intriguing when I visit each stage,” said Quý Trương, 17. “I particularly like the stage which depicts a corner of Bùi Viện Street.”

Thanh Ngọc, 25, said that each stage’s different theme made wandering along the street an enjoyable experience.

Many performances are offered for more than one hour, with “fusion” performances being the highlight of the show.

“I was amazed at the variety of performances,” Ngọc said. “Honestly, I didn’t think that I would enjoy folk music. And then later I discovered that breakdancing and even EDM (electronic dance music) was being played at nearby stages.”

To catch the interest of all generations, many artists have spiced up their performances with a fusion of modern tunes and traditional folk music.

For instance, while a hip-hop dance was accompanied by violin and trống cơm (Vietnamese cylindrical drum) beats on one stage, EDM was mixed with the sound of đàn bầu (Vietnamese monochord zither) on another stage.

“What struck me most was when I heard an artist performing Sơn Tùng M-TP’s Nơi Này Có Anh on folk music. Who would have thought such an unexpected combination could be so catchy?” Ngọc said.

“Though the popular song first caught my attention, it was the folk sound playing in the background that kept me until the end of the performance,” she added.

Many older visitors enjoying the show said that pop music was not their usual cup of tea, but they had changed their minds and would search for songs later at home.

“The show has also done a great job introducing different traditional arts such as folk songs and gong dancing to children, teenagers and young adults. It’s hard to inspire them with traditional values these days,” Tân Thuận, 46, said.

Khánh Nhã, Thuận’s wife, added that the show had more than just entertainment value and that she would bring her nephews to enjoy the performances for the next show.

In addition to local residents, the show captured the attention of international tourists as many songs were performed in different languages, including Vietnamese, English and French.

“It’s amazing. La Vie en Rose was sung in both French and Vietnamese! I was really digging it,” said Élie, a French tourist on his first visit to the city.

According to Lê Hữu Luận, director of the city’s Performing Arts and Cinematography Centre, street performances serve as a platform to  introduce and promote the country’s culture to international friends.

The deputy director of the city’s Tourism Promotion Centre, Đinh Thị Thái Hiền, said the show aimed to demonstrate a modern, friendly side of HCM City while preserving traditional values.

New performances will be offered every week and street art competitions will be held, according to authorities, who also said that an annual international street art festival would be organised in the near future.

Aside from the six stages set up for singing, dancing, flashmobs and circus stunts, among others, several backgrounds with various themes have been installed for visitors to take photos.

The main theme for next month’s Street Show is “Cooling Summer”. – VNS

Attracting the masses1: The Hồ Chí Minh City Street Show attracted huge crowds on its opening day. – VNS Photo An Phương
Eclectic mix: A variety of performances are featured at the Hồ Chí Minh City Street Show on Nguyễn Huệ Pedestrian Street. – VNS Photo An Phương

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