Traditional Vietnamese music recognized by UNESCO

Quan ho Bac Ninh singing (Bac Ninh folk love duets) and Ca tru (ceremonial songs) have recently been recognized as “an intangible world heritage” by UNESCO, said an official of the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism.

                   Quan ho Bac Ninh singing

Accordingly, Ca tru has been listed as a “cultural heritage in need of urgent safeguarding.”

Quan Ho Bac Ninh singing was recognized as an “intangible cultural heritage of humanity” at the fourth session of the UNESCO International Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Heritage, which took place in Abu Dhabi, UAE, from September 28 to October 2.

A total of 111 cultural items from 34 nations were nominated as “intangible cultural heritage in need of urgent safeguarding,” but only 15 have been approved, said Le Thi Minh Ly, deputy head of the Department of Cultural Heritage.

One of the highlights for two cultural items of Vietnam is the feasibility of an action plan for heritage protection, she added.

Ca tru is highly appreciated for its art value in the Vietnamese culture. Ca tru, which dates back to the 15th century, has also been listed among 12 “intangible global cultural heritage traditions in danger of disappearing.”

Meanwhile Quan ho singing is highly valued for its special cultural value, performance art and singing skills, with its unique customs, language and costumes.

“It is not just a source of happiness for the people in the northern province of Bac Ninh, the homeland of Quan ho singing, originating around the 13th century, it is also the pride of the Vietnamese people,” said “Meritorious Artist” Ta Thi Hinh, chairwoman of the Bac Ninh Province’s Quan ho singing club.

Previously, Nha Nhac Hue (Hue royal court music) of the Nguyen Dynasty, and the Space of Cong Chieng (gongs) Culture in the Central Highlands, were also recognized by UNESCO as part of the World Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Nguyen Dang Tuc, director of the Bac Ninh Department of Culture, Sport and Tourism, said that the Government should promote community awareness of protection and development of recognized cultural heritage; keep and foster folk music for the next generations, especially young people; and study, collect and preserve special features of Quan ho singing, as well as enhance the quality of Quan ho singing festivals to discover and foster new talent.

By Vinh Xuan – Translated by Kim Khanh

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