Thursday, November 15 2018

VietNamNews

Keeping chanting alive and well

Update: July, 07/2018 - 09:00
The Lệ Thủy chanting was recognised as national intangible cultural heritage by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.Photo www.quangbinhtourism.vn
Viet Nam News

Chanting that is performed in the Lệ Thủy District in Quảng Bình province is a type of folk music.

In days gone by people would sing chants as they went about their work.

During times of war, people chanted to make carrying food and weapons easier.

Now, the chants are a type of art that is special to many people who do not want them to die and be forgotten.

By Phương Hà

One year after it was honoured as a national intangible cultural heritage, Lệ Thủy chanting is expanding and reaching larger audiences. But the work of preserving and promoting the heritage is still difficult.

The performance introducing the Lệ Thủy chanting, a genre of Vietnamese folk music from Lệ Thủy District (Quảng Bình Province), at the Hall of the Union of Literature and Art Associations in Hà Nội on May 25 attracted a large number of spectators. People were excited to encounter Lệ Thủy chanting, some of them for the first time.

The show began with hò lia trâu, a type of folk singing consisting of six tunes, performed by a group of Lệ Thủy chanting club artists. The song brings out the tunes familiar to working people, sometimes witty and other times full of happiness and excitement, winning love from the audience.

Nguyễn Thị Lý, president of the Lệ Thủy club, said that the club travelled from the central province of Quảng Bình to Hà Nội to perform at the invitation of cultural researcher Nguyễn Hùng Vĩ and the Association of Vietnamese Folklorists in Hà Nội. “We are happy to have a chance to introduce our heritage to many people,” she said.

According to researcher Vĩ, the founding and developing process of Lệ Thủy chanting aligns with the process of the overall development of the people in Lệ Thủy. Previously, Lệ Thủy chants were sung by lumberjacks, peasants and fishermen as they were doing their work.

During the time of war in Việt Nam,  Lệ Thủy chants were sung to encourage the people transporting food and weapons. In peacetime, the chants were performed on stage to bring a unique musical art to audiences.

Vĩ said that the uniqueness of the chants came from the differences in the special categories of chants, each sung during a different working activity.

Struggles in protecting heritage

With its cultural value and uniqueness, the Lệ Thủy chanting was recognised as national intangible cultural heritage by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. But it still hasn’t had much of a chance to reach a national audience.

There have been a few activities to introduce and promote Lệ Thủy chants, through Bình Trị Thiên folk-song festivals, cultural events and television programmes. But the artists don’t have a regular stage on which to perform this art and introduce the heritage to people.

The representative of the Quảng Bình Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism admitted that it was difficult to win the honour for Lệ Thủy chants, but even harder to then preserve and develop the value of this national heritage.

Researcher Vĩ and his colleagues who share his love for the art form have accompanied the club to perform in provinces from Hà Nội and Bắc Ninh to Nam Định, Nghệ An, Hà Tĩnh and Phú Yên. However, these activities are infrequent and therefore haven’t reached many people.

With the strong wish to protect their ancestors’ legacy, the president of the Lệ Thủy chant club, Nguyễn Thị Lý, said efforts to preserve the art form were critical. After she established the Lệ Thủy chanting club in 2015, she and the members of the club have rehearsed, collected songs and performed to introduce the chants around the country.  

The members of the club also teach young artists how to sing the Lệ Thủy chants. Artist Lý said that she wanted the club to have a stable funding source so that members could travel to perform in different places, spreading the heritage to more and more people.  

“Other than funding, we also want the authorities and organisations to provide us more events in which to participate, such as contests and classes to teach the folk music to the young generation,” Lý said. — VNS


 

 

GLOSSARY

One year after it was honoured as a national intangible cultural heritage, Lệ Thủy chanting is expanding and reaching larger audiences.

If something is intangible it cannot be touched.

But the work of preserving and promoting the heritage is still difficult.

Preserving means keeping.

Promoting means making something popular and strong.

The performance introducing the Lệ Thủy chanting, a genre of Vietnamese folk music from Lệ Thủy District (Quảng Bình Province), at the Hall of the Union of Literature and Art Associations in Hà Nội on May 25 attracted a large number of spectators.

A genre of Vietnamese folk music is a type of Vietnamese folk music.

Spectators are people who watch an event.

 People were excited to encounter Lệ Thủy chanting, some of them for the first time.

To encounter something means to come across it.

According to researcher Vĩ, the founding and developing process of Lệ Thủy chanting aligns with the process of the overall development of the people in Lệ Thủy. Previously, Lệ Thủy chants were sung by lumberjacks, peasants and fishermen as they were doing their work.

Lumberjacks are people who chop down trees and take the logs to sawmills.

Peasants are poor farmers.

During the time of war in Việt Nam,  Lệ Thủy chants were sung to encourage the people transporting food and weapons. In peacetime, the chants were performed on stage to bring a unique musical art to audiences.

If something is unique there is only one of it.

However, these activities are infrequent and therefore haven’t reached many people.

Infrequent means not often.

With the strong wish to protect their ancestors’ legacy, the president of the Lệ Thủy chant club, Nguyễn Thị Lý, said efforts to preserve the art form were critical.

A legacy is what is left over from something in the past.

After she established the Lệ Thủy chanting club in 2015, she and the members of the club have rehearsed, collected songs and performed to introduce the chants around the country.  

Rehearsed means practised.

Artist Lý said that she wanted the club to have a stable funding source so that members could travel to perform in different places, spreading the heritage to more and more people.  

Stable funding is money that comes in much the same amount every time and at regular intervals.

Other than funding, we also want the authorities and organisations to provide us more events in which to participate, such as contests and classes to teach the folk music to the young generation,” Lý said.

You, your brothers and sisters, are one generation; your parents and your aunts and uncles are another and then your grandparents and their brothers and sisters are yet another generation. Your children would then be yet another generation as would your grandchildren.

WORKSHEET

Find words that mean the following in the Word Search:

  1. Nguyễn Thị Lý’s position at the Lệ Thủy club.
  2. One of the groups of people who chanted while working.
  3. The month in which a performance of Lệ Thủy chanting was introduced to the capital city.
  4. Material carried by people who would chant, during times of war.
  5. A place where fishermen do their work.

 

 

 

 

 

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ANSWERS: 1. President; 2. Fishermen; 3. May; 4. Weapons; 5. Sea.

 

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