Restoring Cua Dinh folk singing

(VOV) - Cua Dinh folk singing is a genre of ceremonial singing which is the original form of Ca Tru folk singing.

The music genre includes singing, instrument playing and dancing and is performed in the front yard of the communal house. Cua Dinh folk singing has been revitalized at Kenh communal house in Hai Phong city.

Cua Dinh singing used to be a popular music genre among the Vietnamese people. In the 1950s, for various reasons, it disappeared from the traditional festivals of rural villages.

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Culture researcher Bui Trong Hien from the Institute of Vietnamese Culture and Arts said according to ancient documents, there were two troupes of Cua Dinh singers in each district from the northern provinces to Thanh Hoa, Nghe An and Ha Tinh province. These troupes usually performed in front of local communal houses. They sang at worshiping ceremonies for village genies.

Cua Dinh singing embraces the Vietnamese spiritual culture.

Researcher Bui Trong Hien said the lyrics of Cua Dinh singing embody Vietnamese folk beliefs and reflect people’s daily lives. Its music is exciting and festive.

"Cua Dinh singing, the original form of Ca Tru ceremonial singing, was performed as part of a ceremony. Cua Dinh songs depict love, the homeland, and human nature, and include classic references,” he said.

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In recent years, Vietnamese people have tried to restore the music genre. 91-year old Nguyen Phu De of Hai Phong, the only artist that remembers all 14 ways of performing Cua Dinh.

Thanks to Mr. De’s assistance, the Hai Phong Ca Tru Club managed to restore this unique music genre. Emeritus Do Quyen, Head of the Club, said for 4 months, the club’s artists came to Mr. De’s house to learn Cua Dinh singing.

“He is the only artist in Vietnam that has mastered Cua Dinh singing. He plays instruments and sings at the same time. He has performed Cua Dinh singing many times so he knows this genre very well. Though he is over 90 years old now, he still remembers and can hand down this art genre to the younger generation,” De said.

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It’s urgent to restore Cua Dinh folk singing now because Mr. De is very old and he is the only artist remaining. A love of folk singing and a determination to restore ceremonial singing genres motivated artists of the Hai Phong Ca Tru club to raise money and come to Mr. De’s house to learn and practice Cua Dinh singing. They have managed to restore 14 types of Cua Dinh singing.

Quyen said what concerned them most was how to preserve and hand down this art genre to younger generations. “We managed to restore Cua Dinh folk singing, but we need additional efforts and support from others to preserve and promote it,” he said.

Artists of the Hai Phong Ca Tru club are patiently working to promote this unique art to wider public. This year they plan to teach younger artists and include Cua Dinh singing in extra lessons for school children.