Bac Lieu – the cradle of Vietnam’s amateur singing

Chia sẻ
(VOVWORLD) - Known as a musical art that has both scholarly and folk roots, Don Ca Tai Tu (amateur singing) developed in southern Vietnam in the late 19th century. 
Bac Lieu – the cradle of Vietnam’s amateur singing - ảnh 1

Recognized as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2013, the music genre has been transmitted from generation to generation through official and unofficial forms of education in all 21 southern provinces, among which, Bac Lieu province reports of its existence for hundreds of years. 

In the early 20th century Don ca tai tu quickly spread throughout the six provinces of the south. Many well-known artists emerged, notably Le Tai Khi (or Nhac Khi) and monk Nguyet Chieu in Bac Lieu. These artists arecredited with promoting this art form in the first half of the 20th century. Among the renowned amateur singers who were trained by Nhac Khi, Cao Van Lau and his fellows established a Bac Lieu amateur singing troupe to promote the art form across southern Vietnam. In addition to preserving the original versions of amateur singing, the troupe members have improvised and invented hundreds of new singing versions.

"I have added new versions to 20 original songs, with up to 4 versions for each song. The topics I love the most are about the country, people, and local movements like new rural development, civilized lifestyles, and happy families," said artisan Do Ngoc An of Bac Lieu province.

There are currently nearly 70 amateur singing clubs in Bac Lieu province with more than 500 artisans.

"My father and brother also practice this art form and I have learned a lot from them. I have been performing amateur singing for more than 30 years, and like many others who love this art form, I was very proud when amateur singing was recognized as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO," said Mr. An.

Amateur singing is performed at numerous events such as festivals, ‘death anniversary' rituals, and celebratory social events. The audience can join in, by practicing, making comments or creating new words for songs.

"Amateur singing clubs have been established from central to grassroots levels: at villages, communes, districts, cities within the province of Bac Lieu, with practices held regularly. Club members are encouraged to create new words for all the songs and promote the music genre across the country," said artisan Tu Duy Doan of Bac Lieu city.