This summer, schoolchildren in Da Nang city were treated to Bai choi singing classes organized by artists from the city’s Stage Artists Association. Over the past two months, they have learned how to chant and play traditional musical instruments and got a sense of the history and beauty of the folk genre. They were also introduced to the meaning of the lyrics in folk songs. Tran Thi Thu Thao of Le Loi school said: “I’m very excited about participating in this class. I learned how to sing many Bai choi songs. I hope I can perform Bai choi for my classmates soon.”
Nguyen Thanh Thuy, a teacher of music and head of the Bai Choi singing class at Le Loi school says the class draws a lot of students and receives support from their parents.
Emeritus Artist Trinh Cong Son, Head of the Bai Choi Club, and his wife, artist Tran Thi My Le participated in Bai Choi classes in local schools and inspired younger generations to take to the folk genre.
Mr. Son said that he is aware of his responsibility to pass down the art to the younger generation and inspire them to continue it, especially after it has been recognized as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Son said: “I feel very happy to teach Bai Choi to the schoolchildren. They sing and perform as beautifully as professional artists.”
In order to preserve and promote Bai Choi singing, a number of Bai Choi clubs and classes have been organized in Da Nang city drawing a large number of participants. Many training courses have been organized for music teachers and cultural activists. Bai Choi has also been performed by students at school performances. Tran Van Hong, Deputy Head of the Education and Department Section in Ngu Hanh Son district said: “We will increase the presence of Bai Choi in the school curriculum, particularly in music lessons. We hope that by so doing we can inspire more people to take up this folk genre.”
With its simple, sweet lyrics and beautiful melodies, Bai Choi singing has been closely associated with the life of the people in central Vietnam. Bai Choi is often seen at spring festivals and resembles a game, using playing cards and village huts. It is a creative intangible cultural form which combines improvisational verses and fun games, embraces common wisdom, and merges music, poems, and literature, all contributing to the character of the people. Bai Choi songs are about festivals, daily life and work, and have an instrumental accompaniment.