Remembering the past:
Artist Hai Phuong presents a piece of traditional music on
instrument at the Tieng Hat Que Huong Club. - VNS Photo Duc
HCM CITY -
Despite the fears of many traditionalists that new generations will
forget to honor the past, pockets of purists still practice a labor of
love to ensure history lives and breathes.
City, Vietnamese traditions are renewed every day at the Tieng Hat Que
Huong, which means the Motherland's Singing Voice Club.
club's chairwoman, Pham Thuy Hoan, 60, has devoted years to the
continued appreciation of traditional music in her homeland. Not only
does she pour herself into directing the nightly club performances,
but she also teaches music part-time at the conservatory and writes
reference books on the subject. And beyond the symbolism of her
actions, she has also given back to her field: both of her daughters
work in the music club along with her, sharing her belief in the power
studying traditional music, I realize that it is not only very
interesting but also a holy treasure handed down by ancestors," she
says. "If I do not take it and pass down to the next generations, I
Hoan has assembled fellow music enthusiasts and has garnered financial
support from the city's Culture-Labor Palace for the performances that
occur once every three months. Hoan describes what has happened over
the last 21 years as a deep water source splashing to the surface. The
club has managed to attract over 100 members who bring traditions to
life through song and dance.
performances combine many elements on the stage. The main instrument
featured amid the orchestra full of traditional strings and
percussions is the dan tranh,
a 16-string instrument, that sounds like high pitched flowing water,
among other sounds. The singers dress in the traditional silk
ao dai. Movement on the
stage is subtle, between the fast finger plucking of the strings, and
the small arm movements of the dancers.
creation of a handful of private music clubs around HCM City, most of
these productions were put on for tourists in certain restaurants and
hotels. But with the establishment of the home-grown Tieng Hat Que
Huong, Hoan has helped restore native interest in the music, with the
productions put on for Vietnamese by Vietnamese.
other local attempts to revive the classical art in music festivals
held by Viet Nam Television and HCM City Radio. But she also still
sees the virtue in displaying this traditional music for foreigners.
at restaurants have their own positive effect on offering artists
regular income to nurture their passion and at the same time help
introduce traditional music to tourists," says Hoan.
is not over at the club and with her lessons. She also lobbies to add
extra-curricular lessons on folk songs and traditional music to school
curricula, despite the organizational issues that this may cause.
traditional folk music in the school curriculum is necessary," she
said. "But the number of relevant teachers is too small and they act
quite spontaneously." -
Vietnamese News VN