Viet Nam News
CẦN THƠ — Nearly 100 artists from nine Cần Thơ Province folk groups have gathered at the biennial southern folk music festival that opened on November 22 in Cần Thơ City.
The festival aims to develop the quality of local southern amateur folk music (đờn ca tài tử in the local language) in order to preserve the intangible culture heritage that has been recognised by the UNESCO.
The participants will compete in two categories: traditional amateur folk music and modern amateur folk music, which utilises the four classical melodies of Nam, Oán, Bắc and Bắc Lễ.
Competitors, who perform in pairs, will also compete in a new challenge this year which require them to answer questions to test their knowledge of the art.
The selections that will be performed at the festival have been selected from nearly 500 pieces by singers and instrument players from all over the province, who have been planning the programme since the beginning of this year.
The songs praise the country, war martyrs, the Party, Uncle Hồ and Cần Thơ as a beautiful land with a bright feature.
Hồ Lâm Bạch Vân, deputy director of the city’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said the city has a well-developed movement of southern folk singing. However, the folk art has still not been widely introduced to tourists.
“This festival aims to create a playground for artists to exchange and inspire one another to promote the art in the city,” she said. “We are planning to organise regular shows for tourists at tourist sites like Ninh Kiều Wharf.”
The festival will close on November 26.
In 2013, tài tử music was recognised as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.
The music is considered the prototype for vọng cổ (traditional tunes) and cải lương (reformed opera) of southern Việt Nam. It is part of the region’s traditional music that began 100 years ago.
It is associated with farmers who sing the songs in the fields or at the end of a hard day.
Tài tử songs are performed at traditional festivals, weddings and death anniversary events in the region. — VNS