VIETNAM TRAVEL NEWS
Gov't helps to keep Xoan alive
A 165 billion VND 7.85 million USD) projectfunded by the Government will help encourage artisans, amateur singers andyoung people in the northern province of Phu Tho to preserve xoan singing.
Nguyen Ngoc An, director of the provincialDepartment of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said the project is part of effortsto take xoan singing off the list of UNESCO cultural intangible heritage formsin urgent need of preservation by 2015. Under the project, a centre fortraining local singers will be established, researchers will work to digitalisexoan songs and traditional festivals will be restored.
"Preserving and developing is hard because artisans are getting older.Meanwhile, youths lack knowledge about xoan singing and are not aware of theimportance of protecting it as a form of world cultural heritage, " Ansaid.
Nguyen Thi Lich, head of An Thai xoan singing group in Phuong Lau Commune, isone of a handful of artisans making efforts to teach xoan singing to youngpeople. Her classes are very crowded with learners from six to 60 years of age.
"I''m glad because some of my talented students have become popular xoansingers and can teach others, " Lich said.
In addition to holding classes in her home, she''s gone to teach the art atprimary, junior and high schools throughout the province.
"Teaching xoan singing in the schools is key to helping young peoplecontribute to keep xoan singing alive, " said Nguyen Van Liem, deputydirector of the provincial Department of Training and Education.
Xoan singing, also known as hat cua dinh (singing at the communal house hasexisted since the Hung Kings dynasty more than 2, 000 years ago. In the past, people in Van Lang nation (now Phu Tho Province) sang these songs in the springto welcome the new year. There are three forms of xoan singing: ritual singingto pray for good crops and health, worship singing to commemorate the HungKings and village guardian gods and festive singing, a form of love duet.
The art form has been granted the "world cultural heritage" title byUNESCO in November 2011.'