Meritorious artist Cam Vui – guardian of Thai culture

Meritorious artist Cam Vui of the Thai ethnic group in Muong La district, Son La province, is well known for his dedication to Thai ethnic culture. Over the years, he has made tireless efforts to preserve local folk tunes.

With his beautiful, heart-breaking voice, Cam Vui is popular among those who love Thai folk tunes in Son La province.

Tong Van Hia of Mong village, said "Artist Cam Vui sings beautifully. And the lyrics go smoothly. His songs are easy to listen to, easy to sing along with and easy to remember the song."

Vui’s mother can sing Thai songs and his father teaches the ancient Thai scripts to local people in Muong Trai commune. During his childhood, Vui learned to sing and play the flute and that nurtured his love for Thai culture. His performances singing and playing the flute were applauded by the locals.

Vui was assigned to promote cultural movements in the community while working for the Culture Section of Muong La district. He traveled to other communes to strengthen cultural movements and encourage local people to set up art troupes. He also teaches singing, dancing, flute playing, and even reading and writing to local Thai people.

Vui says it’s not difficult but one must be patient and passionate to learn to sing Thai folk tunes, or play the flute.

"Not everyone can sing a song smoothly, deeply, and passionately. The singer needs passion along with a good voice and good singing techniques to sing along with the various rhythms of the song,' said Vui.

With his passion for Thai folk tunes, Vui has written several songs to praise the love of the homeland and President Ho Chi Minh and songs about the daily life of local people, weddings, and love stories.

He has composed 350 songs. Many of them have been broadcast on the Voice of Vietnam and the Son La Radio and TV Station. Researchers of the folk culture and folk tunes of the Thai group in Vietnam’s northwestern region have come to him to record his songs.

Nguyen Van Sang, Head of the Culture and Information Section of Muong La district, Son La province, says there are more than 300 art troupes in Muong La that have contributed to preserving and promoting the local culture.

Sang said  "Cam Vui is very special. He can write songs, do research on Thai culture and collect cultural artefacts. He enthusiastically participates in all community activities, especially the elimination of backward customs. Listening to him sing makes people happy."

Vui’s house in It Ong town is full of songs that he has composed and many books on Thai traditions, customs, poems, sutras, and teachings in the ancient Thai script. Vui says these are things he has collected and preserved his whole life in order to pass them down to his children.