Workshop promotes preservation of southern singing style
A workshop discussing how to preserve and develop the musical genre “Don ca tai tu” took place in the southern province of Bac Lieu on April 27, bringing together a crowd of scholars and researchers operating in the field.
As part of the ongoing national “Don ca tai tu” festival in the locality, the event focused on analysing the art and reviewing the process of developing it.
Known as a musical art that has both scholarly and folk roots,” Don ca tai tu” developed in southern Vietnam in the late 19th century.
UNESCO recognised it as intangible cultural heritage last December during a session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in Baku, Azerbaijan.
The art is performed at numerous events, such as festivals, ‘death anniversary’ rituals and celebratory occasions. The audience can join in by offering feedback to the singers and suggesting new lyrics for songs.
It has been transmitted from generation to generation through official and unofficial forms of education in all the 21 southern provinces, where it is most popular. .
The music is played on a variety of different instruments, including the kim (moon-shaped lute), co (two-stringed fiddle), tranh (16-string zither), ty ba (pear-shaped lute), song lang (percussion), bau (monochord) and sao (bamboo flute).
Musicians are classified as ‘master instrumentalists’, ‘master lyricists’, ‘master singers’, ‘instrumentalists’ and ‘singers’.
Influenced by other forms of cultural heritage from the central and southern regions of Vietnam, such as “nhac le” (ceremonial music) and “hat boi” (classical theatre and folk song), the music genre was added to the National List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2012.
At the workshop, attendees said the festival aids Vietnam’s attempts to preserve the country’s traditional art and culture.
The first event of its kind, the festival has attracted the attention of the domestic and international community and spurred a joint effort to conserve the form.
Paris exhibition features 40 years of Vietnam-France relations
A week-long exhibition opened in Paris on April 26, showcasing photos and publications on the Vietnam-France relations over the past 40 years and Vietnamese culture.
The event is part of the 2014 Vietnam Year in France and aims to promote Vietnam as a global tourist attraction.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Vietnam’s Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Bac Son said the exhibition is aimed at consolidating the two peoples’ mutual understanding and boosting the Vietnam-France strategic partnership, which was established in September 2013.
At the same time, a Vietnam film week was also launched with nearly 100 documentaries to be screened.
Benoit Paumier, General Commissioner of the 2014 Vietnam Year in France, hailed the “symbolic” significance of the exhibition and film week, saying that the 2014 Vietnam Year in France has attracted the active participation of local authorities, Vietnamese associations and friendship societies in the country.
Tran Huu Trang Awards winners announced
The winners of the twelfth Tran Huu Trang Awards, an annual “cai luong” (reformed opera) competition, were announced at a ceremony in the southern province of Bac Lieu on April 28.
Chairwoman of the organising board Bach Tuyet highlighted the event as an offshoot of the first national festival celebrating “Don ca tai tu” – the musical art that has been recognised as intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO.
The competition aims to identify young talent and celebrate those who have promoted the traditional southern Vietnamese form of theatre, which originated in the Mekong River Delta.
Tran Huu Trang (1906-1966) was a great playwright in the “cai luong” style. He was bestowed with the Ho Chi Minh Prize for art and literature in 1996.
Chinese crowned as best presenter on Ha Long Bay
A contestant from the People’s Broadcasting Station of Chinese Guangxi province won the first prize at the best presenter on Ha Long contest, which concluded on April 27 in the northern province of Quang Ninh.
Trinh Lam Ngoc from the northern port city of Hai Phong and Le Hong Phuc from southern Binh Duong province were ranked second, while the third prize went to Nguyen Y Lan in northern province of Bac Giang and the host province’s Do Phuong Loan.
This is the fifth year the best presenter on Ha Long contest has been held by the Quang Ninh Radio and Television Station and the Ha Long Bay Management Board with the aim of promoting Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO-recognised World Natural Heritage site and a new world wonder.
The competition comprises four rounds dealing with presentation, aptitude, costume on the theme of Ha Long, and reporting skill.
Vietnamese food featured on boat trip on Seine River
Vietnamese food was the main theme on a boat trip on Seine River, with the aim of promoting Vietnam’s cuisine to French people.
Three Vietnamese renowned cooks from Hanoi, the central province of Thua Thien-Hue and Ho Chi Minh City, made about 30 dishes popular in the three main regions of Vietnam, including nem (spring rolls), banh beo (Vietnamese savory steamed rice cake), bun cha (noodles with grilled meat) and banh phu the (Vietnamese conjugal cake).
Talking to about 200 guests in the April 25 event, President of the France-Vietnam Friendship Association (Le Liseron) Bernard Biron said that cuisine is an effective way to introduce Vietnam’s culture to the world.
The Vietnam-France friendship and solidarity have been a foundation for his association’s activities over the past 15 years, he added.
Vietnamese Ambassador to France Duong Chi Dung praised the association’s initiative and expressed his thanks for its assistance for Vietnam through the provision of equipment for several hospitals in the Mekong Delta region, building of houses for the poor and granting of scholarships to disadvantaged students.
Vietnamese culture in spotlight in Czech capital
A Vietnam Culture Day was held on April 26 in Prague, to introduce Vietnamese cultural traditions to people in the Czech Republic.
The event was organised by the Vietnamese Embassy and Vietnamese Association in the country in coordination with the Czech National Gallery.
As part of the ongoing Vietnamese art exhibition in the city, the event embraced a series of activities, such as traditional art performances, Vietnamese handicraft display and an Ao dai (long dress) show.
Addressing the opening ceremony, Ambassador Truong Manh Son spoke highly of the Gallery’s idea to hold the event, saying that it contributes to further fostering mutual understanding and the all-round cooperation between the two countries and their people.
The Vietnamese art exhibition, which kicked off on February 6 at the Czech National Gallery, shows off a number of Buddha statues dating back to the 18th century and a collection of Dong Ho traditional paintings and some ancient pottery. It is scheduled to run until May 12.
According to Ambassador, the embassy plans to team up with Vietnam’s relevant agencies and those of the host to hold several other activities in the coming time to celebrate the 65 th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two nations.
Veteran journalists share memories about Dien Bien Phu battle
Veteran journalists who fought side by side with soldiers on the battlefield at Dien Bien Phu 50 years ago shared their memories about the historic battle at an exchange held in Hanoi on April 26.
A former reporter of the Quan doi Nhan dan (People’s Army) daily, 91-year-old Nguyen Khac Tiep talked about how 33 issues of the newspaper were published right at the battlefield with the contribution of only five reporters including himself.
82-year-old Colonel Nguyen Xuan Mai, former Editor-in-Chief of the Vietnam War Veteran Newspaper recalled the time when he served as a liaison soldier at Dien Bien Phu battlefield with reading the Quan doi Nhan dan newspaper to other soldiers as one of his assigned missions.
Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Journalists Association Ha Minh Hue stressed that the news stories, photos and video clips produced during the battle are precious historical documents. The war journalists became soldiers, using their special weapon – their pen, to fight for the final victory.
Besides the Quan doi Nhan dan, the first and only newspaper published at the battlefield, other media agencies including Radio the Voice of Vietnam, the Vietnam News Agency and Nhan Dan (People) daily also performed well their political missions to serve the Dien Bien Phu campaign.
The “Dien Bien Memory” exchange was jointly held by the Vietnam Journalists Association, Vietnam Television and the Vietnam National Communications Group Joint Stock Company.
Also on the anniversary of the Dien Bien Phu Victory, the Vietnam Journalists Association organized a trip back to the former battlefield to pay tribute to fallen war journalists and soldiers.
Wartime memorabilia shed lights on Dien Bien Phu victory
Several exhibitions opened on April 26 showcasing photographs, documents and artifacts relating to the Dien Bien Phu victory of May 7, 1954, which helped end the French colonial rule in Vietnam.
In the northern province of Bac Giang, 80 pictures and documents originating from the Dien Bien Phu campaign are on display.
The event, which will remain open until May 26, also introduces visitors to more than 100 weapons and resources used during the nation’s resistance war against French forces, including guns, mines, bicycles and bullet-proof jackets.
Another exhibition is being held in the Central Highland province of Kon Tum, with the theme “From the northern Central Highlands campaign to the Dien Bien Phu Victory.”
With 200 photos and 20 documents, the event provides visitors with an insight into the wartime fighting in the Central Highlands, which led to the liberation of Kon Tum province on February 7, 1954 and inspired the Dien Bien Phu triumph. The exhibition will last until July 30.
The two shows are expected to help educate young generations about the heroism of Vietnamese people during the resistance war, and encourage them to contribute more to the country’s construction and defence.
Lam Dong to host mega gong fest
More than 300 gong artisans from ethnic minority groups across the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong will join a gong culture festival in Lac Duong district on April 29-30.
Nguyen Vu Hoang, director of the provincial Culture Centre, said the event will have a wide range of interesting and attractive activities including contests to identify the sounds of various gongs and quizzes about the local gong culture.
It will also honour gong artisans who have contributed actively to preserving and developing the special art form, Hoang added.
A horse race and several folk games will also be organised during the event that is expected to be the ever largest gong festival held to date in the Central Highlands.
Festival hits Ha Long as national holiday begins
The opening ceremony of Carnaval Ha Long 2014 will kick off at 8pm, on April 30, in Ha Long city, the northern province of Quang Ninh.
Bearing the theme of Quang Ninh Convergence and Pervasion, the festival will feature a wide range of cultural and sports activities, including art performances, parade, and pyrotechnic display.
The opening ceremony will combine on-stage performances and street parade with the participation of more than 4,000 actors and actresses.
Thai, Lao and Chinese troupes will also take part in the festivities and will focus on showcasing tourist attractions and diversified cultures of the region.
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