Soul of the Village

Unique cultural offering to debut in Hanoi

15:20 | 20/10/2017 Culture & Art

(VEN) - The first Soul of Vietnamese Village show featuring folk music performances by talented artists will take place in early October. To learn about the program, Vietnam Economic News’ Hoa Quynh spoke with Nguyen Van Binh, deputy director of the show organizer, VTC Digital.

unique cultural offering to debut in hanoi

Soul of Vietnamese Village is the result of collaboration by artists, artisans, journalists and folk music researchers. What are the special features of the program?

Soul of Vietnamese Village recreates the daily life of Vietnamese people in the Red River Delta countryside from early morning to late night. The show consists of seven parts - dawn, a countryside market day, harvest, a summer day, village workers, young women having their hair washed, and a village festival.

The show features four types of Vietnamese folk music recognized as intangible cultural heritages by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). They include ca tru (ceremonial/festival song, an original art performance of academic character), royal court music, chau van (a Vietnamese form of ritual singing), and dan ca quan ho Bac Ninh (Bac Ninh Province’s folk songs). Apart from monochord, two-string zither, flute, drum and other traditional instruments, objects made of rattan and bamboo, pots, and brooms will also be used as musical instruments on the show.

Through the art of music, combined with stage performances in an authentic style, the show will give the audience insights about the ancient, rustic Vietnamese countryside with its vibrant activities and love for people and nature.

unique cultural offering to debut in hanoi

How did you come up with the idea for the show?

Like many other Vietnamese people, I am extremely concerned about the declining presence of folk music in our life. Ironically, while many kinds of folk music have become world intangible cultural heritages, young Vietnamese are far more interested in modern music. However, with tourism becoming a spearhead economic sector, many tourist offerings featuring Vietnamese traditional cultures like folk music are needed and should be created. Visitors to Hanoi, for example, have nothing unique to enjoy other than repeated routines associated with water puppetry, a city tour on a cyclo, and a visit to the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology. Culture and tourism managers have long been urging the development of special and unique entertainment offerings in the city featuring Vietnamese traditional cultures.

With all of that in mind, during a trip to Tibet with travel agents, the idea of creating a show themed “Soul of Vietnamese Village” appeared in my mind. I told my friends and colleagues including artists and cultural researchers about the idea. Many did not think it was feasible, given the failure of previous such attempts, but many others welcomed and supported my idea. After careful study, thanks to the encouragement and cooperation of talented artists, we began creating the show in September 2016 and accomplished it one year later.

unique cultural offering to debut in hanoi

Soul of Vietnamese Village already premiered for travel businesses and management agencies. How was it received?

Most of the travel businesses’ representatives at the premiere were impressed by the show, predicting tourists and visitors would welcome the performance. Many of them rated the show highly and assessed that it should be a valuable tourist offering in the capital city. Many travel businesses contacted me afterward promising to promote the show and include it in their tour offerings. Notably, the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) decided to donate VND200 million to the show after its premiere. We are very happy to receive the support of travel businesses and the VNAT, as the show will require their support in order to keep going.

Are you still working on the show to improve it?

The show is quite new so we have our work cut out for us in improving and perfecting it to appeal to a broad audience. We have completed designing the program’s basic structure but we will strive to make it more unique, sophisticated and interesting. Revenue is not our biggest target. We are aiming for the promotion and preservation of the art of Vietnamese traditional folk music.

Therefore, apart from being promoted by the program’s staff members, I would like the show to be promoted widely through tourist, diplomatic and cultural activities and events inside and outside Vietnam. I believe that the beauty of Vietnamese folk music promoted through the show will resonate with a great many people.

The 50-minute long Soul of Vietnamese Village show will take place on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at the Hong Ha Theater in Hanoi. Tickets are VND200,000 (US$9) per person.

Hoa Quynh