Can Tho hosts southern folk music festival

Nearly 100 artists from nine Can Tho Province folk groups have gathered at the biennial southern folk music festival that opened on November 22 in Can Tho City.

Nearly 100 artists from nine Can Tho Province folk groups have gathered at the biennial southern folk music festival that opened on November 22 in Can Tho City.

Can Tho hosts southern folk music festival

Traditional: Amateur artists perform a song at the festival. — Photo: Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism

The festival aims to develop the quality of local southern amateur folk music (don ca tai tu in the local language) in order to preserve the intangible culture heritage that has been recognised by the UNESCO.

The participants will compete in two categories: traditional amateur folk music and modern amateur folk music, which utilises the four classical melodies of Nam, Oan, Bac and Bac Le.

Competitors, who perform in pairs, will also compete in a new challenge this year which require them to answer questions to test their knowledge of the art.

The selections that will be performed at the festival have been selected from nearly 500 pieces by singers and instrument players from all over the province, who have been planning the programme since the beginning of this year.

The songs praise the country, war martyrs, the Party, Uncle Ho and Can Tho as a beautiful land with a bright feature.

Ho Lam Bach Van, deputy director of the city’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said the city has a well-developed movement of southern folk singing. However, the folk art has still not been widely introduced to tourists.

“This festival aims to create a playground for artists to exchange and inspire one another to promote the art in the city,” she said. “We are planning to organise regular shows for tourists at tourist sites like Ninh Kieu Wharf.”

The festival will close on November 26.

In 2013, tai tu music was recognised as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.

The music is considered the prototype for vong co (traditional tunes) and cai luong (reformed opera) of southern Viet Nam. It is part of the region’s traditional music that began 100 years ago.

It is associated with farmers who sing the songs in the fields or at the end of a hard day.

Tai tu songs are performed at traditional festivals, weddings and death anniversary events in the region.

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