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Ca Tru singing in Dong Mon

Tue, 17 Mar 2015 . Last updated Thu, 25 Jun 2015 09:02

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Through many centuries, Ca tru has been many changes however it is still deserves to be considered an intangible cultural heritage of humanity because it is the art genre with lasting historical value and the highest artistic standards.

These youngsters all love ca tru singing, an intangible cultural heritage of the mankind. Overcoming daily hardships, the passion for this demanding art genre remains nurtured in this rural area. The familiar sounds of drum and plucked lute as well as beautiful voice have nurtured people in Dong Mon Village, Hoa Binh Commune, Thuy Nguyen, Haiphong for long. This elegant art genre is still alive in this countryside. Dong Mon “ca tru” club holds class every week. Dong Mon club was founded in 1993 by enthusiastic ones who wanted restore this art genre.

After 20 years, this art genre has its own position. Villagers have delivered performance in many places and reaped many successes. Many young singers like Ms. Pham Thi Lien, Mr. To Van Tuyen and Ms. Nguyen Thi Duyen won high prizes. They are trying to preserve and develop this art genre. The one who receives the biggest merit in the restoration process is Mr. Tran Ba Su. He and late artist To Thi Che and Singer To Van Nghi founded this club to preserve this art genre.

At first, no one wanted to join the club and they didn’t have enough musical instruments. He tried to fix the plucked lute he bought in Haiphong City. He had to draw letting the carpenter know how drums and clapper looked like so that he could make them. He with the clubs overcame many ups and downs.

Hardly anyone knows when this art genre was born. However, according to several historical documents, this art genre was born in the 15th century and became a cultural phenomenon of the Red River Delta. So far, this art genre has reached and admirable level. The elderly in Dong Mon often say that this art genre appeared 200 hundreds years ago. According to them, there were many musical houses which helped local people earn their living. Music was played around the village all the time.

This art genre is elegant and special. All people can understand the music. However, it’s hard to play this music appropriately. Singing techniques and musical instruments create the uniqueness of this genre. This is the treasure of Vietnamese people. There is the worshipping place for the founder of this art genre. March 24th in lunar calendar is the big festival of the singers. According to historical documents, this is the general worshipping place for the whole Red River Delta. Dong Mon has become the home to this art genre in the Delta area.

Mr. To Van Tuyen is a famous 30 year-old musical instrument player. He’s attached with the art genre for 10 years. In 2002, the Hai Phong Folk Culture Association conducted a survey on ca tru in Dong Mon village and introduced the supportive program of Ford Foundation which enabled such singers to learn in the VNAM. At that time, he was a member of musical group of Hoa Binh Commune. After joining the training course, he came back to normal life but held an increasing passion for this art genre. He and seniors often discussed this music genre. Then, he dreamed of wallowing in the musical space of such touching songs.

Nguyen Thi Duyen is one of the youngest talented singers in Dong Mon, Haiphong in particular and Vietnam in general. She is blessed with beautiful voice. Great grandmother of Duyen is also the best craftman who makes and plays “dan day” (a kind of traditional musical instrument) in Hai Phong. She is also a well-known singer. Being born and raised in a family attaching to “Ca tru”, it has become part of Duyen.

As Duyen is blessed with talent for “Ca tru”, she soon becomes a popular singer. Since she was in grade 7, she has attended many “Ca tru” contests and won high prizes. Gold and silver medals that she won in national “ca tru” festivals encourage here to bring this traditional art genre closer to youngsters. Though Duyen is a 2nd year student at Vietnam Maritime University, she spends most of her free time on promoting “ca tru”. She and her friends hold talk-shows and classes teaching “ca tru” to the youngsters.

Though “ca tru” is not included in the academic curriculum, “ca tru” class is held successfully every week. That’s the reason why Hoa Binh commune has the highest number of students joining “ca tru” club. “Ca tru” is a selective art genre. However, most of the youngsters love Duyen’s voice. It’s Duyen who inspires the youngsters to love “ca tru”. It’s hard to talk about what Duyen gains from “ca tru”. “Ca tru” makes her patient and inspires the love for literature. All singers are passionate for this art genre. Their love for “ca tru” gets bigger over time despite difficulties. “Ca tru” is no longer an academic art genre. It is now more popular. At present, “Ca Tru” is performed in various stages.


Source: VTC10 - NETVIET

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