|Keeping tradition alive: A Vi and Giam folk song performance at the second Vi Giam Folk Songs Festival in 2013. — Photo http://locha.gov.vn
HA NOI (VNS) — Vietnamese work songs are in the running to become UNESCO symbols of intangible world heritage, along with 45 other cultural practices across the globe.
The ninth session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage will consider nominations for its 2014 Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity at the ongoing UNESCO meeting in Paris. It ends on Friday.
Vi and Giam are two traditional music styles performed without instrumental accompaniment. People in the central provinces of Nghe An and Ha Tinh created the songs hundreds of years ago. They sing them during work and daily activities – while cultivating rice, rowing boats, making conical hats or lulling children to sleep.
The practice is still widespread. People sing Vi and Giam in 260 villages in the region, according to a 2013 inventory taken by the Viet Nam Institute of Culture and Arts Studies.
"The outstanding values lie in the vitality and permissiveness of the heritage," said Professor Nguyen Chi Ben, director of Viet Nam Institute of Culture and Arts Studies. "It is visible everywhere and at every time, from a lullaby to a fisherman singing on a boat. The local populations in these two provinces demonstrate a deep love and passion for the Vi and Giam folk songs."
Realising the songs were an essential part of Viet Nam's cultural heritage, the Government started compiling a dossier in 2012, hoping to preserve them, said Ben. He is also a member of the council compiling the dossier.
During the UNESCO meeting, attended by 1,000 delegates, participants will review national reports on items that need safeguarding. They will also listen to reports on the use of international assistance from the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund.
UNESCO already recognises eight Vietnamese cultural practices as intangible cultural heritages, including the Giong festival and Hue's royal court music. — VNS