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Xam singing – the Vietnamese folk music

Wed, 03 Sep 2014 . Last updated Fri, 20 Mar 2015 12:51

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Xam singing is a type of Vietnamese folk music which is popular in the Northern region. Currently, Xam artists in Hanoi have released a music video about the East Sea issue, a hot issue attracting the attention of both the domestic and international.

Along with hundreds of Vietnamese artists who have performed the Vietnamese national anthem and songs to call the attention to the East Sea issue, Xam artists in Hanoi has released music video incorporated with Xam singing melody in the East Sea subject. This project aims at encouraging the solidarity, patriotism spirit for Vietnamese nationwide. At the same time, promote the traditional art value of Xam singing to younger generation. This is new online music video released by Xam singing of the Ha Thanh Xam club calling on Vietnamese people joint hands and fight for Vietnam’s sovereignty on the East Sea.  The singers perform Xam Sai melody to express their patriotism and their meditation to the social issues. The lyric shows the pride in the history when the King Quang Trung defeated 290 enemy troops in Ngoc Hoi – Dong Da.  It is considered as the symbol of the strength and determination of Vietnamese people. The video also quotes a famous poem written in 1077 by Vietnamese general Ly Thuong Kiet to affirm the sovereignty of Vietnam. The eight minutes long of video is the third version of Xam Sai melody recorded by artist Quang Long focusing on the issue of the East Sea and affirm the Hoang Sa and Truong Sa archipelago belong to Vietnam.

- Reporter: Could you share the inspiration behind the newly released MV?

- Artist Quang Long: As we all know, tensions in the East Sea have risen in the recent months. All Vietnamese feel concern and want to speak out to condemn the violation of international laws by China. Vietnamese artists have raised their concerns and composed several songs during this time. I think Vietnamese folk arts, particular Xam singing should also contribute to protecting national sovereignty.

- Reporter: The East Sea is a popular topic among Vietnamese artists. Why did you choose to incorporate this hot topic with Xam singing?

- Artist Quang Long: Xam singing is like a media channel that always reflects public concerns in society. Xam is very suitable for talking about the East Sea issue at the moment. The question is how should we approach the issue we can retain Xam’s characteristics, because Xam is humorous, funny, sarcastic and scolding at the same time. It can encourage people to act but still remains entertaining.

That video has had a great impact on the general public. Anyone can watch this video. No matter if you are young or old, you can all enjoy it, and it is very fun. It is not heavy like other art forms. It is fun but it also conveys a common interest of the East Sea. This project marks of the beginning conservation and development of the art of Xam singing.  Unlike other art forms, Xam conveys a strong message about current affairs of the country.

- Reporter: What projects have you become involved in and what are the reasons behind them?

- Artist Quang Long: In 2006, I joined a group to conserve the Xam performances at Dong Xuan Market. We worked independently for the next few years, but then I worked with Mai Tuyet Hoa, Khuong Cuong and Tran Dinh Dung to form the Ha Thanh Xam singing club. We continue to develop xam singing especially tramway xam singing. We recently released a new Xan song about pennywort. After I read that poem I really loved it. People often use the pennywort in a sarcastic way to associate with the Thanh Hoa region, I didn’t see the sarcasm in it but the spirit of the people was in there. Xam singing can convey both the sarcastic tone but also its sincereness. With the help of my friends who are cameramen and director Nguyen Nhat Giang, we were able to introduce this new xam song to many people, including those from Thanh Hoa.

- Reporter: Some concerns have been raised about the decline of this art form. In your opinion, what can be done to preserve Xam singing?

- Artist Quang Long: We are trying to prove that traditional folk arts, in particular Xam singing, still have many values that can attract an audience. Of course, it cannot compare to R&B, hiphop and other genres that younger generations love, but we can look for similarities and exploit the humor in it. We can also increase the tempo so Xam singing can be traditional and contemporary at the same time. People can dance to this new tune and the art can be more suitable for younger audiences.

- Reporter: What future plans does the Ha Thanh Xam singing club have?

-  Artist Quang Long: We are working on a very big project. Hopefully, by October 10th this year, we will organize a Xam singing performance featuring current affairs at the Hanoi Opera House. We performed at the same venue in 2010 and drew a lot of attention, so we want to continue with more performances.


Source: VTV4 –

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