Friday, May 14 2021


Singing a song for the gods of the sea

Update: April, 01/2017 - 09:00
Crashing waves: The second act of Bả trạo Singing includes the reenactment of fishermen rowing their boat at sea during fishing trips. — VNA/VNS Photos Đỗ Trưởng
Viet Nam News

Bả trạo singing has been passed down for generations in the fishing villages of Núi Thành District, in the central province of Quảng Nam.

The unique local folk art, which combines singing and dancing, was originally created for ceremonies worshiping whales, or as local fishermen call them, ‘Big Fish’.

The ceremonies are usually held at the beginning of the year before local fishermen take to sea for the first time after the New Year. Local fishermen also hold ceremonial funerals for dead whales that wash ashore.

During the ceremonies, fishermen pray for the whales’ protection, who they regard as gods of the sea, and bountiful hauls. The event consists of three acts portraying a fisherman’s journey: boarding a boat, sailing and returning. 

A Bả trạo singing troupe often consists of 10 to 18 people, who must be able to sing and dance well in sync. The performance, which was developed from local traditional music and dance, features everyday activities and depicts the fishermen struggling against nature. — VNS


Plenty of fish: Village elders praying for a bountiful fishing season by the seaside in Tam Thanh Commune. Ảnh: Đỗ Trưởng- TTXVN
On the beach: A troupe perform Bả trạo Singing’s first act: Boarding a boat for the ceremony.
Row your boat: Bả trạo Singing troupe during their performance.
Shiny jewels: Nguyễn Thành Trung, a resident of Tam Thanh, was honoured to be chosen as the lead singer for his village Bả trạo singing troupe at this year’s ceremony.

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