Folk music artists from art troupes and theatres from Shapes of Sounds - Dáng Hình Âm Thanh, a new cultural project launched by the Voice of HCM City People (VOH), are helping to preserve Vietnamese culture. — Photo courtesy of VOH
HCM CITY — The Voice of HCM City People (VOH) has launched a special art project offering folk music, dance and singing performances this month as part of its efforts to preserve and introduce Vietnamese traditional arts and culture to residents and visitors.
The project, called Shapes of Sounds - Dáng Hình Âm Thanh, offers different performances of folk arts originating from the northern, central and southern regions. The performances are staged by talented artists of leading art schools, art troupes and theatres in HCM City.
Each show — featuring folk songs and dances, and musical pieces is directed and produced by veteran artists, musicians and cultural researchers.
The performers are accompanied by Vietnamese music played by a symphony orchestra and folk music instrumentalists in tranh (Vietnamese zither), sáo (flute), bầu (Vietnamese monochord) and nguyệt (two-stringed long neck moon flute).
“Our project is part of the VOH’s strategic investment plan to develop the city’s cultural industry,” said composer and theatre producer Đức Thịnh, one of the project’s creators, who has 15 years of experience in the industry.
“We wanted to honour Vietnamese folk music and its artists who have worked and faced challenges to keep their art alive. We also hope young people will learn about the country’s history, culture and lifestyle through our performances.”
“We want to create a modern music space where folk artists can introduce their art to audiences in the city,” he said.
The Voice of HCM City People launches a special art project, called Shapes of Sounds - Dáng Hình Âm Thanh, offering folk performances as part of its effort to introduce Vietnamese traditional arts and culture to residents and visitors. — Photo courtesy of VOH
The project, Shapes of Sounds - Dáng Hình Âm Thanh, offers a series of shows featuring cải lương (reformed opera), the south’s traditional music begun 100 years ago.
The highlighted show is Dạ Cổ Hoài Lang (Night Drumbeats Cause Longing for Absent Husband). It features cải lương stars of the Trần Hữu Trang Cải Lương Theatre, one of the region’s leading traditional theatres.
The show was named after the famous vọng cổ (nostalgic tunes) song written in 1919 by well-known musician Cao Văn Lầu of Bạc Liêu Province, who is recognised as a guru of cải lương theatre.
The song tells of the love, anguish and pride of a young woman watching her husband leave to fight for the country.
Vọng cổ songs are sung by southern farmers after working in the fields. The songs feature the feeling, dreams and hopes of people. They are often used in cải lương.
“Although our artists are talented, they have worked hard on refining their singing and acting skills to successfully portray the spirit of the Vietnamese,” said the show’s director Thịnh.
The first show of Shapes of Sounds - Dáng Hình Âm Thanh is expected to be staged on March 8 at VOH Theatre on 3 Nguyễn Đình Chiểu Street in District 1. — VNS