Ho Chi Minh City preserves southern folk singing

(VOV) - Don ca tai tu – southern folk music - was recognized as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2013. Since then, Ho Chi Minh City has been organizing activities to preserve and promote this art form.

The second Don Ca Tai Tu Festival competing for Golden Lotus Awards was recently held in Ho Chi Minh City. The festival attracted 250 singers and players traditional musical instruments from 24 clubs in Ho Chi Minh City.

In Ho Chi Minh City, there are 300 Don Ca Tai Tu clubs and groups with more than 3,000 members, most of who are singers, musicians, composers, and or researchers. They often perform at local cultural houses and popular venues like the Municipal Youth Cultural House and the Labor Culture Palace.

Nguyen Thi Phuong Thuy, a member of a Don Ca Tai Tu Club in Tan Phu district, said “I love southern folk music and I love singing. I want to preserve the folk music of our predecessors. The preservation of this art form requires an effort from everybody”.

Getting enough money to maintain the club’s operation is the main problem of all singing clubs in Ho Chi Minh City.

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Le Van Loc, Vice Director of the Ho Chi Minh City Culture Center, said “Don ca tai tu singers don’t sing for money. They sing with their friends and families in small groups to express their feelings. So it’s easy for them to give up singing. We need to work out incentives to support the singers”.

Many classes to teach Don ca tai tu singing have opened in Ho Chi Minh City.

Tran Duc Nhan, an Executive Committee member of the Don ca tai tu singing club in District 1, said it’s vital to inspire young people to love this music because they play a key role in preserving and promoting it. 

"Artists of my generation are getting old and will not be able to sing much longer. So we want to teach and inspire young people,” he added.

Ho Chi Minh City adopted policies and organized practical activities to attract young people to southern folk singing. The art form has been included in the school curriculum. The city has also launched a number of song-writing competitions for children. A collection of 60 Don ca tai tu songs for children will soon be introduced in the city’s schools.

Nguyen Van Minh, Director of Ho Chi Minh City’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism said “It’s important to preserve this genre of music. We need to encourage young people to join our efforts. We have asked Don ca tai tu clubs and groups to focus more on teaching young people this genre of music”.