Local administration’s incentives and the artists’ efforts have helped promote Don Ca Tai Tu (traditional amateur singing), which is recognized by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humankind.
The Tay Do Theatre, Culture and Sports Center of Cai Rang district, and the Can Tho Culture and Art school has performed Don Ca Tai Tu in Cai Rang floating market and Ninh Kieu wharf on Saturday and Sunday morning since last September.
The sweat melodies echoing in the early morning on the mighty Mekong River attract tourists and comfort local traders. This performance has become a “typical tourism product” of Can Tho.
Tourist Thanh Huyen said “It’s good and relaxing to enjoy the program we like without paying entrance fees. Such programs should be organized for the young people to understand the origin of Don Ca Tai Tu.”
The southern folk singing has been taught to foreign students of Can Tho University since 2005.
Lecturer Le Dinh Bich with his talent and passion for Don Ca Tai Tu has won the heart of foreigners. He transcribed the musical notes of Hò, Xự, Xang, Xê, and Cống into seven notes of a western musical scale.
Bich said “I teach Australian, French, and Japanese students about the beauty of the Lower Mekong River. All my students enjoy this part and they also want to learn Vietnamese musical instruments.”
Veteran amateur singer Hai Duc in Cai Rang district with his unique three-string fretted lute and trader-singer Ly Hung in Cai Rang floating market have been tireless in handing down the art of Don Ca Tai Tu to the young people in their communities.
The Can Tho City’s Culture Center is opening a training of trainer course for 30 amateur artists, who will then teach Don Ca Tai Tu to others.
Emeritus Artisan Kieu Nga, Deputy Director of Culture Center in Thot Not district, is keen on teaching the amateur singing to the younger generation.
She said “The more Don Ca Tai Tu is educated at school, the younger our successors are. We are looking for people who can help teach school students how to sing Don Ca Tai Tu.”
Can Tho city has issued a project on preserving and promoting Don Ca Tai Tu until 2020, motivating local singers to continue their singing career and others to pursue the musical legacy of their predecessors.