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Vien Chau, cai luong superstar, dies at 92

Update: February, 03/2016 - 08:42

Master: Cai luong composer Vien Chau by his traditional instrument when he was alive. — Photo

HCM CITY (VNS) — Viet Nam's most famous composer of cai luong (reformed opera), Vien Chau, died of natural causes at his home in HCM City on Monday. He was 92.

The People's Artist, real name Huynh Tri Ba, who was born in Tra Vinh Province in the Mekong Delta, was hailed as the "King of vong co (nostalgia) songs".

In a career that spanned more than six decades, he wrote 2,000 vong co songs and more than 70 cai luong scripts.

Many of his songs like Tinh Anh Ban Chieu, Vo Dong So – Bach Thu Ha, La Trau Xanh, Hoa Lan Trang are familiar to generations of Vietnamese.

He taught many reformed drama artists including Le Thuy, Dieu Hien, Ngoc Giau, and Bach Tuyet.

In 2014 he was awarded the Labour Order, third class, for his contributions to the development of don ca tai tu.

People's Artist Le Thuy said he had identified her singing talent when she was just 13 or 14 and taught her how to sing.

Since then, audiences have always asked her to sing songs written by him, she said.

People's Artist Ngoc Giau said without Vien Chau as the teacher she and many other renowned cai luong artists might not have existed.

At 19 Vien Chu taught himself the zither, violin, and guitar.

In 1950 he wrote the script for the cai luong play Nat Canh Hoa Rung, which was performed for the first time in Sai Gon the same year. It was an instant hit.

Since then he devoted all of his time to the art.

His last rites were performed yesterday at the HCM City Funeral House. — VNS

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