Ha Noi hosts concert fusing Malian and Vietnamese music
The night will include pieces composed by Musbaba, a Ha Noi-based artist, using traditional Vietnamese instruments such as the dan tranh (16-chord zither) with Malian percussion.
The concert is part of a project launched in 2012 by Musbaba to gather artists from different musical genres. Since then, Musbaba has worked to combine Vietnamese dan tranh melodies with Malian rhythms.
The project has created unusual yet harmonious collaborations among musicians from very different backgrounds.
The concert will begin at 8pm at L’Espace, 24 Trang Tien Street.
YAN Beatfest thrills over 50,000 music lovers
A view is seen at an outdoor music festival called YAN Beatfest 2014 at Phu Tho Indoor Stadium in HCMC’s District 11 last Saturday.
This was one of the biggest concerts in terms of participants as it attracted over 50,000 music lovers with the majority being teenagers despite the scorching heat of Saigon these days.
On that day, the audience was thrilled by the performances of local leading singers, including Ho Quynh Huong, Tuan Hung, Thuy Tien, Hien Thuc, Hoang Thuy Linh and especially X Factor 2005 winner Shayne Ward and DJ Scott Kirby from the U.K. – News and Photo: Kieu Giang
Popular singers face in new show
Ten popular singers have put their names down to compete in “Tuyet dinh tranh tai” (ultimate competition), which is a Vietnamese name of Ultimate Entertainer, a Norwegian-format show.
Pham Anh Khoa, Ung Hoang Phuc, Duc Tuan, Kimese, Minh Thu, Trang Nhung, Hoang Hai, Phuong Vy, Tra My and Pham Thu Ha will have to sing the songs that are not their strengths in 11 live shows on every Saturday starting 8 p.m. on HTV7 from April 19.
The winner will bring home VND400 million and the first runner-up will get VND200 million.
One of the special features of the “Tuyet dinh tranh tai”, diva Hong Nhung will stage as one of the contestants after the sixth show in the position of a judge. Popular Tran Thanh will be emcee of these shows.
Photo contest to debut on Facebook
Vinacafe and VNphoto will launch a photo contest themed “Chat thoi gian” on Facebook until May 30 for both professional and amateur photographers to scoop total prize money of VND140 million.
Photographers can submit unlimited numbers of single shots and collections of black and white photos with each having a resolution of 300dpi. The number of Likes for their entries on Facebook will contribute 30% to the final results.
Nguyen Dinh Toan, marketing director of Vinacafe and a member of the judging panel, said that the contest put an emphasis on the stories told via photos about Vietnam. They can an old-architecture alley, a street vendor or a hot steam-rising cup of coffee.”
Contestants will have to post their entries on the fanpage https://www.facebook.com/chatcaphe for public comment and sharing. There will be weekly prizes for the best photos of VND3 million each and VND1 million for the photos having the largest numbers of Likes and Shares.
The organizers will publicize three prizes worth VND21 million each for the top three winners and other nine consolation prizes worth VND6 million each for the good photos featuring culture/daily life’s activities, landscapes and Vietnam’s traditions.
US band brings music into Hue hospital
The US band Amigos staged a free music performance at the Hue Central Hospital in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue on April 14 as part of the ongoing Hue Festival 2014.
The five-member group brought to the patients a variety of music genres from blues and jazz to rock and roll, which won big applauds from the audience.
Nguyen Tuyen, a patient from Huong Hoa district of central Quang Tri province, shared his joy over the festive atmosphere which he said is a great source of encouragement to the patients and helps them get well soon.
Before taking part in the Hue Festival, the Amigos has toured Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, and most recently the capital of Hanoi.
Besides this performance, the US band is staging two more free events in Hue city.
Singer Brianna said this is the first time her group has come to Hue, noting that they were very happy to perform there for the friendly people.
Also during the Hue Festival, the eighth of its kind, Vietnamese and Japanese artists for the first time performed together the royal court music and dances of their own countries at the 3-2 Park on April 14.
The same day saw domestic and foreign art troupes throwing music banquets at 18 sites in Hue city.
The biennial Hue Festival, which is taking place in the UNESCO-recognised World Cultural Heritage city of Hue from April 12 – 20, has drawn 43 art troupes at home and abroad, which will join in hundreds of performances highlighting the rich cultures of different countries in the world.-
Vietnamese blockbusters to be shown in RoK
Five Vietnamese blockbusters will be offered to cinema fans in the Republic of Korea (RoK) during a Vietnam Film Festival to be staged in the country from April 16-19.
Besides their box office success, the five films have received praises from local critics for artistic quality.
The films – Thien menh anh hung (The Blood Letter), Am muu giay got nhon (How to Fight in Six-Inch Heels), Bi mat tham do (Scandal), Ao lua Ha Dong (The White Silk Dress), and Choi voi (Adrift) – will be shown at CGV Yeouido cinemas in Seoul.
RoK actor Yeo Jin-goo and Vietnamese actress Van Trang will act as ambassadors of the festival, the third of its kind and co-organised by the Vietnamese Embassy in the RoK, the Vietnam Cinema Department, the RoK Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the RoK Film Council.
The two previous Vietnam Film Festivals in the RoK were held in 2011 and 2012.
Cambodian woman lauded for cultural preservation in Hue
The People’s Committee of the central province of Thua Thien-Hue has recently presented a certificate of merit to Odom Vantanak Phuong Monie – a Cambodian, in recognition of her contributions to preserving cultural heritage in Hue ancient capital.
In 2013, Monie donated 220 fine arts and cultural objects to the Hue Imperial Palace Antique Museum. She also invested over 200 million VND (9,480 USD) in the redecoration of ancient shrines in the Hue imperial citadel.
According to Director of the Hue Monument Conservation Centre Phan Thanh Hai, apart from offering exhibits, Monie also spent money on upgrading and embellishing landscapes at some relic sites in the ancient capital, contributing to attracting more visitors to the areas.
Monie has set a good example of conserving and promoting values of cultural heritage in Hue and Vietnam in general, Hai said.
Hue is the capital of the last feudal dynasty in Vietnam, the Nguyen.
The Hue Imperial Citadel was recognised by UNESCO as a world cultural heritage in 1993.-
Traditional craft villages in danger of disappearing
Vietnam’s traditional craft villages where artisans for hundreds of years have produced bronze, ceramic, silk and bamboo products, among other crafts, are under threat, according to the Nhan Dan (People) online newspaper.
Suffering from the impacts of economic recession, as well as a lack of capital, problems with the sustainability of the material supply source, shortfalls in management and importantly, little recognition for the artisan’s work, Vietnam’s craft villages could be lost.
Villages like Chu Dau and Bat Trang pottery villages, Van Phuc silk village, Dinh Cong and Dong Xuan bronze vilages, Quat Dong embroidery village, and Phu Vinh bamboo and rattan village, with hundreds of years of history could eventually become desolate.
A key threat to the survival of the villages is the lack of recognition for the artisans, which discourages young people from continuing on their family history. There are yet to be clear regulations on the criteria for the title nor a specific organisation entrusted with the recognition process.
This poor management has meant that not only are the right people not being awarded but also at the same time unqualified artisans are wrongly given the title.
The problem spreads widely, with artisans ‘ignored’ in other localities also, such as Tran Thi Y Lan in Ho Chi Minh City, the producers of unique sand pictures; Le Van Vong in Kieu Ky gold-inlay village; and Nguyen Thi Mai Van in the wine making village.
On the other hand, those who have been honoured do not receive reasonable economic benefits, such as free training courses, space to show their products at fairs, or invitations to train the younger generation of their fields.
In short, we are pushing talent away from the crafts, away from the preservation of heritage and to the end of the villages instead of towards development and innovation.
Action is needed now in order to save Vietnam’s traditional craft villages and help those struggling to carry on with their ancestral traditions. Acknowledgement and honour for the artisans cannot be postponed any more.
Firstly, specific ministries and sectors must be assigned to manage the different issues. It is suggested the Ministry of Trade and Industry work with those from craft villages in the production and business fields while it is recommended the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism considers those working in tangible and intangible cultural fields. The Vietnam Fatherland Front Central Committee should further co-ordination with its member organisations and social organisations to ensure that no artisan is missed from the acknowledgement.
Vietnam can also learn from Japan, where once many craft villages faced collapse with young people flocking en-masse to big cities. To address the issue, the Japanese Government developed policies to ‘preserve’ artisanship and provided them with preferential insurance. With improved living standards, the artisans had more time to train the younger generations and develop their crafts. Thanks to the decision, the craft villages recovered.
Other ASEAN countries have been known to show appreciation for artisans by organising exhibitions of their products and providing them with benefits such as regular health check-ups.
If we value the artisans now we have a chance to not only save the villages but develop the trades above and beyond what they have ever been.-
Private acting courses seek to attract youth
The Ho Chi Minh City-based Hong Van Drama Troupe, a leading private theatre, is offering training courses in performance skills as the number of talented actors has declined in recent years.
The troupe’s owner, People’s Artist Hong Van, a veteran actress who spent more than 20 years on the stage, said the troupe’s new plays were challenging for the young staff.
Van says her troupe’s training courses will give young participants a chance to discover new techniques and ways of expressing themselves emotionally on stage.
“Offering professional drama training is part of our theatre’s activities so that one day we can be recognised as a speciality art centre,” she adds.
Before joining the training courses, candidates aged between 22 and 26, will be selected through several rounds by the theatre’s veteran artists.
The winners will work as professional artists while attending class, and will have opportunities to perform in the theatre’s main plays and comedies.
Van says she is confident that the students can be trained for different levels of performance.
This month, their first three year-course concluded, which trained 18 young performers who will perform in the troupe’s two latest plays, the drama Nguoi Dan Ba Uong Ruou (The Drunk Woman) and comedy Ga Thi Thuong (The Bonus).
“We asked our students to spend at least three years to study the theatre skills,” says theatre director and comic actor Minh Nhi, an acting lecturer at prestigious theatre schools, including the Hong Van Drama Troupe.
The troupe also provides students a chance to perform with veteran colleagues, including their teachers, on stage during their training.
“On stage, they can learn that theatre is not a game. Without hard work and sacrifices, they will never become professional even if they have talent,” Minh says.
In recent years, the performing arts scene has expanded rapidly with an increasing number of young talents achieving success in modern art forms, but traditional forms like drama, cheo (traditional opera) cai luong (reformed theatre) and tuong (classical drama) have been ignored.
For instance, about 2,000 candidates last year applied to the Hanoi University of Theatre and Cinematography, but none to the tuong course.
“We are facing a shortage of young, skilled tuong performers,” Le Chuc, deputy chairman of the Vietnam Theatre Artists Association, says.
Chuc, a tuong actor, says cultural authorities should invest in producing talented young artists if the art was to truly develop.
Minh agrees with Chuc, saying that theatres, particularly private art troupes, should independently headhunt and train their own staff of young performers.
Traditional arts are particularly difficult to master, Minh says.
“In music and cinema, amateurs can practise a bit and perform, but you cannot perform tuong or cheo unless you are properly trained.”
To perform, artists use almost all the parts of their body. If they lack a powerful voice, they cannot perform, sing and dance while also expressing the emotions of each character.
“The fact is that none of us can live on our income of around 10 million VND a month, even if we are stars on stage. Though our lives are hard, we have a passion for theatre,” the 30-year-old actor says.
Thua Thien-Hue full of festive atmosphere
The UNESCO-recognised World Cultural Heritage city of Hue in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue is in a festive atmosphere as numerous activities are being held as part of the 2014 Hue Festival.
Some 20 Vietnamese and foreign arts troupes stirred the atmosphere with traditional music and dances from East Asian and Latin American countries along with circus performances.
Also on April 13, pet bird keepers from 15 provinces and cities nationwide gathered at the Hai Ba Trung High School for a bird show. They brought along 600 bird cages to the event, which attracted a lot of locals.
At night the same day, the Imperial Citadel was turned into a big music stage as bands from Norway, Australia, the US or Japan gave performances at many places inside the citadel.
Along with musical shows, an exhibition of 48 royal artefacts is open to visitors, showing porcelain pieces and daily utensils used by kings of the Nguyen Dynasty.
On this occasion, Thai Y Duong – the workplace of royal physicians – is also open to the public.
The Hue Festival is held every two years to honour unique cultural and historical values of Hue in particular and Vietnam and other nations in general through art performances.
The eighth event of its kind, the festival this year took the theme of “Cultural Heritage with Integration and Development”, and is part of the East Asian-Latin American cultural exchange forum held by Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Chol Chnam Thmay festivities held across Mekong Delta
On the first day of their New Year (April 14), they brought offerings to pagodas to welcome the new god of the year.
Thousands from the group in Can Tho city and Soc Trang and Tra Vinh provinces came to pagodas to pray for health and prosperity in the New Year.
They believe that every year heaven sends a god called Tevoda to earth to look after human beings and their lives. At the end of the year, the god returns to heaven and another one will replace him.
Thach Phach from the managing board of Luong Ba Sac pagoda in My Xuyen district, Soc Trang province, said over 6,000 families go to his pagoda every year to do the great calendar-receiving ceremony, which is to welcome the New Year and wait for omens of the new year.
On the second festive day, people heap up mountain-shaped stocks of rice at the main hall of pagodas to pray for a bumper harvest while sand will also be piled up in search for happiness and luck.
The third day is for the ceremony to wash the Buddha statue in order to pay tribute and gratitude to the Buddha.
During the three days, the Khmer people also make visits and offer each other wishes for good health, good luck and prosperity. They also join in fun activities.
On this occasion, the Border Guards of An Giang province and the General Hospital of the province’s Chau Doc city on April 14 provided free check-ups and presented gifts to impoverished people in neighbouring Kompong Krosang commune of Cambodia – the country with most of its population being Khmer.
Chol Chnam Thmay is one of the most important festivals of the year for the Khmer people. It lasts three days (four days in leap years) and is usually held in pagodas.
Int’l dance festival opens in Hue city
An international dance festival kicked off in the imperial Hue city in the central Thua Thien-Hue province on April 14 as part of Hue Festival 2014, with the participation of 24 art troupes from countries and territories.
Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Vuong Duy Bien said the artists will stage a total of 37 dances – each lasting 20 minutes. Excluding the host Vietnam, foreign troupes are allowed to perform with 14 members only, Bien added.
The festival, which will run until April 18, creates a good chance for local dancers to exchange experience with their foreign peers as well as fuel their creativity in the field.
The biennial Hue Festival, the eighth of its kind, is taking place in the UNESCO-recognised World Cultural Heritage city of Hue from April 12 – 20.
Themed “Cultural heritage with integration and development“, it will feature a forum for East Asia – Latin America cooperation, a conference of ASEAN+3 cultural ministers, and culinary festivals, trade and tourism fairs, among others.
Architecture festival for students kicks off in Binh Duong
More than 500 students from the architecture faculty of 19 universities across the country joined the 9th architecture festival themed “Hoa Dat Thu” (flowers of Thu Land) taking place at Binh Duong University last week.
The Vietnam Association of Architects put on the biennial event to create a playground for future architects nationwide as well as to raise awareness of environmental protection.
At this year’s event, students and young architects also had a chance to fight it out for the awards regarding the ideas for use of sustainable and green materials, technologies and resources. Green criteria are classified as a top priority since houses are said to cause up to 50% of the green house effect that is one of the main contributors to climate change.
Additionally, the power used in the processes of making and transporting building materials to construction sites accounts for up to 48% of the electricity consumed in houses.
This was the first year such SPEC Go Green Awards were launched and the organizers expected to make these awards annual in the coming three years.
Further information can be found at specgogreen.kienviet.net.
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