The art of Bai choi singing is an important cultural activity fulfilling the community’s needs for entertainment and aesthetic enjoyment. The lyrics of Bai choi songs are moral lessons and expressions of love for the homeland and the community. This unique art form combines music, poetry, acting, painting and literature.
"I started Bai choi singing when I was very little. I feel overjoyed when I hum the melodies of Bai choi songs," said Le Thi Dao, a Bai choi singer from Binh Dinh province.
For hundreds of years, Bai choi singing has been an inseparable part of Binh Dinh people’s spiritual life.
"We have no instructor in a Bai choi singing performance, where up to 5 people take turns singing. If any singer misses the beat or forgets the lyrics, the audience corrects them. This means the public plays a very important role in Bai choi singing. The art form would disappear without local support," said Nguyen Kiem, a former head of Binh Dinh province’s Bai choi singing troupe.
UNESCO’s recognition of Bai choi has encouraged dialogue between communities, groups, and individuals, creating opportunities for practitioners to exchange experiences and enrich their skills.
Recently, a Bai choi singing competition was held among local secondary schools in Quy Nhon city, attracting hundreds of contestants.
"The more I practice singing Bai choi songs, the more I like them. The way we perform Bai choi singing is very simple, not as complicated as other art forms. We would love to have more contests like this, where we can learn more about our traditional folk culture," said Le Phuong Hoang Dieu who took part in the competition.
Binh Dinh provincial authorities have set out 7 tasks to preserve Bai choi singing, including conducting more research on the art form and promoting the teaching of Bai choi singing among a wider public.
"We need to protect the two main forms of Bai choi singing: Bai choi games and Bai choi performance. We need more money to support Bai choi events, and the government should take more drastic action to preserve the art form," said Nguyen An Pha, President of the Binh Dinh provincial Association of Literature and Arts.
A ceremony was held in Quy Nhon city earlier this month to receive the certificate from UNESCO recognizing Bai Choi singing as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. At the ceremony, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc pledged to help artists and the community effectively implement the National Action Program to preserve and promote Bai choi singing.