A new project that aims to preserve đờn ca tài tử (Southern folk music) will be launched by HCM City’s Department of Culture and Information in 2024 as part of the city’s efforts to keep traditional genres of Southern theatre alive.
|PASSING IT DOWN – HCM City’s government is working to organise outdoor performances featuring đờn ca tài tử (Southern folk music) to help young people learn more about their traditional art. Photo courtesy of HCM City Theatre Artists’ Association.
HCM CITY — A new project that aims to preserve đờn ca tài tử (Southern folk music) will be launched by HCM City’s Department of Culture and Information in 2024 as part of the city’s efforts to keep traditional genres of Southern theatre alive.
The project is part of the strategy of the city’s cultural industry between 2020 and 2025 approved by the municipal People’s Committee.
It focuses on giving financial support to help tài tử clubs boost their operations and quality. Building public spaces to help tài tử artists introduce their art to local people is also included.
Under the project, outdoor performances will be launched monthly at cultural centres, parks, and residential areas around the city.
“Tài tử clubs attract professional and amateur artists who have worked to bring tài tử, an unique type of folk art in the South, closer to children and teenagers and help them understand the role of traditional arts,” said Meritorious Artist Hoàng Tấn of District 3’s Tài Tử Club.
According to Tấn, his club’s members are working to build a special playground for children and inspire the preservation of cultural folk activities.
Đờn ca tài tử originated in southern Việt Nam 100 years ago. It is the prototype for vọng cổ and cải lương, which is often performed during festivals and special occasions in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta provinces of Cần Thơ, Vĩnh Long, Bạc Liêu and Cà Mau.
The music is performed at traditional festivals, weddings and death anniversaries in the region.
In 2013, the music was recognised as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.
Dạ Cổ Hoài Lang (Night Drumbeats for an Absent Husband) is a popular tài tử song written in 1919 by well-known composer Cao Văn Lầu, a native of the Mekong Delta province of Bạc Liêu.
The song tells of the love, anguish and pride of a young woman watching her husband fight for the country.
|SOUTHERN HERITAGE – Tài tử artists of HCM City have worked to preserve and keep the South’s traditional music alive. Photo courtesy of HCM City Theatre Artists’Association.
HCM City has 229 traditional art clubs, including 84 tài tử clubs, attracting more than 1,220 members.
Tài tử clubs offer training courses on folk singing and tài tử music for several thousand children during summer, so that the youth can learn and understand more about the art.
Through these courses, the students learn to play tài tử music (a traditional type of music in the South) and sing vọng cổ (nostalgic tunes) and cải lương (reformed opera).
They also learn to play traditional instruments, such as the kìm (two-stringed guitar), cò (vertical violin with two strings), tranh (16-chord zither) and bầu (monochord zither). —