Don Ca Tai Tu Nam Bo (southern amateur traditional music) won UNESCO's recognition the 8th Session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage being held in Baku, Azerbaijan in December 2013.
Little girl Tran Thi Yen Nhi, 7, from Ho Chi Minh City’s District 12 received applause from the audience for performing a vong co song titled Chau nho Bac Ho (I miss Uncle Ho).
Don Ca Tai Tu Nam Bo has recently strongly developed through the city. According to Deputy Director of the Ho Chi Minh City Cultural Center, Le Van Loc, the city saw about 100 Don Ca Tai Tu clubs with 1,000 members in 2011; this year’s number is 200 clubs attracting more than 3,000 people, including children aged 6-7.
Outskirt districts such as Can gio, Binh Chanh, Nha Be, Hoc Mon and Cu Chi are considered the home of Don Ca Tai Tu.
The local authorities will launch Vong Co composition contests; and cooperate with the city’s cultural house, HCM City Conservatory of Music and the Department of Education and Training to teach Don Ca Tai Tu Nam Bo in the schools in 2015.
Tran Van Khe, the grand old master of traditional Vietnamese music, said that developing countries pay much attention to traditional music education as well as keeping folk music alive in the community and so Vietnam should foster love to the folk opera among south’s young people.
According to the Department of Cultural Heritage, Don Ca Tai Tu Nam Bo meets the criteria for being on the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, such as being passed down through generations in southern provinces, re-creating via cultural exchanges among people in the country, presenting a concord and respect among ethnic groups.
Don Ca Tai Tu Nam Bo is a long standing cultural tradition in the Mekong Delta Region since the end of the 19th century.
Professor Tran Van Khe confirmed the music has usually been performed in festivals, ceremonious worships, parties, weddings and also funerals.
It is traditionally played by southerners in the evening after a long working day.