The city of Ha Noi, which has a history of preserving and promoting the value of the ancient northern Vietnamese traditional Ca Tru singing, has pledged to increase its efforts by calling for more public participation in the city’s Ca Tru clubs.
Ca Tru, also known as Hat A Dao, features a female singer who is accompanied by a small group of musicians. It has been popular for more than 500 years.
It is a complex form of poetry found in the north of Viet Nam using lyrics written in traditional Vietnamese verse. Originally, it was a form of entertainment for wealthy people and was even performed for royalty.
This kind of singing is now practiced in 15 provinces and cities throughout Viet Nam.
In recent years, in addition to the efforts undertaken by Ca Tru clubs, local authorities all over Ha Noi have paid special attention to the preservation of the art form, which is in danger of being forgotten and disappearing from cultural life.
Several districts ran campaigns to raise the public’s awareness of the cultural value of Ca Tru and to encourage them to join the preservation efforts. Furthermore, authorities mobilised the necessary resources to fund their efforts.
In a bid to safeguard this unique genre of songs, recognised by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Protection in October 2009, historical documents on Ca Tru were collected, books were published, and the teaching of Ca Tru was increased.
The municipal Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism organised Ca Tru festivals to promote an exchange between clubs. Several historical sites were upgraded to provide space to perform Ca Tru.
According to Chu Chi Cang, director of Hoai Duc district’s Ngai Cau Ca Tru singing club, cultural management agencies should develop measures and plans to help support the activities of clubs in Ha Noi and other localities throughout the country.
Vice Director of the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism Truong Minh Tien said his agency considered the conservation of Ca Tru singing a priority, adding that the department would introduce Ca Tru at tourism sites and festivals to popularise the traditional art form.
The department wants the traditional northern form of singing to be taken off the list of endangered world cultural heritages and be granted the status of intangible cultural heritage of humanity instead.
The Department also proposed an annual event to honour Ca Tru vocalists and allocate funds from the budget for performances and promotional measures, Tien added.