- Last month, UNESCO added Vietnamese ‘Bai choi’ folk music to its Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list during the 12th session of their Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage in South Korea.
Bai choi, an art form that combines music, poetry, acting, painting, and literature, has been an important and indispensable spiritual and cultural practice of people in central Vietnam over past centuries.
Meanwhile, Xoan singing - a folk music genre in Vietnam’s northern midland province of Phu Tho - was removed from the Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding and added to the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list. Xoan singing is a type of performing art, attached to the cult of worshipping Hung Kings, the legendary founders of Vietnam, and performed by farmers growing wet rice in the midland areas.
"Both Bai choi and Xoan singing are in need of protection and the best way to promote these art forms are through performances to help educate the younger generations of their beauties and values.", said Professor Hoang Chuong, Director of the Research Center on preserving and promoting Vietnam’s traditional cultures.
- American director and screenwriter Jordan Vogt Roberts was named Honorary Tourism Ambassador by the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism. Roberts directed Hollywood hit “Kong: Skull Island”, whose many shootings were carried out within Vietnam’s famous landscapes.
- 18 national treasures such as Ngoc Lu and Hoang Ha bronze drums of the Dong Son culture 2000 years ago and the Dao Thinh glazed terra-cotta jar were displayed for the first time at the Vietnam National Museum of History in Hanoi. The exhibition, which ran until May, also displays important historical works by President Ho Chi Minh such as Nhat ky trong tu (The Prison Diary), Duong Kach Menh (Revolutionary Path) and the manuscripts of the Call for National Resistance.
"Many of the national treasures on display are introduced to the public for the very first time. Most of the artifacts dated back from the Dong Son culture and are of great significance in terms of artistic values, history, and culture, reflecting a great culture in Vietnam’s early history.", noted Dr. Nguyen Van Cuong, Director of the Vietnam National Museum of History.
- Cua Dinh folk singing (singing in front of the communal house), the original, standard form of Ca Tru ceremonial performance, was once on the verge of extinction because it was no longer being practiced in the last 60 years. Music researcher Bui Trong Hien of the Institute of Vietnamese Culture and Arts worked with his colleagues and artists over the past three years and successfully restored the standard rules of Cua Dinh folk singing. Mr. Hien told VOV: "I found recordings of famous female singers in the 1920s. I listened to them carefully and found the rules of Cua dinh folk singing and presented them on music sheets to help the young students better understand the singing rules. This is a very special art form with continuous rhythm and only by understanding its music sheets can singers perform correctly."
- Another significant cultural event of 2017 was the launching of the Hanoi Opera House’s virtual tour in July. With smart devices connected to the internet, audiences can enjoy images and footage of the Opera House, a typical French architecture more than 100 years old in Hanoi. The soundtracks played during the tour are famous French songs and the narration is available in Vietnamese, French and English.
- The International Dance Festival 2017 opened in mid-September in the northern province of Ninh Binh. The event drew 15 international and 9 local art troupes. Vietnamese dance artists won four gold, and ten silver medals after seven days of competition.