Vietnam’s folk music listed by UNESCO as world cultural heritage

HO CHI MINH CITY, Feb. 12 — “Tai tu” music from southern Vietnam has won UNESCO recognition as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity, becoming the sixth art form in the country to win UNESCO recognition to date, state-run Vietnam News Agency reported Wednesday.
“Tai tu,” which originated in the 19th century, carried influences from the court music of Vietnam’s imperial city of Hue as well as folk music traditions in the southern region.
Handed down orally through many generations, the music is typically performed at festivals, death anniversary rituals and celebrations by farmer-artists.
The application for UNESCO recognition was submitted in 2007, and a host of promotion activities were held in the southern provinces to increase the chances of approval.
Though the art form revolves around 20 principal songs and 72 classical songs, “don ca tai tu” instrumentalists and singers express their feelings through improvisation.
A “tai tu” orchestra is typically made up of young people who are friends or neighbors who get together after work to practice.
Amateur singers are usually accompanied by string and percussion instruments, including dan co (two-stringed fiddle), dan tranh (16-string zither) and dan bau (monochord).
UNESCO recognition will significantly contribute to exchanges between communities, musicians and researchers, and help raise awareness of the importance of preserving the nation’s heritage, said local artists.
Together with “Tai tu” music, five other art forms winning UNESCO recognition as intangible cultural heritage of humanity include the Worship of Hung Kings in Phu Tho Province (2012), the Giong Fstival of Phu Dong and Soc Temples in Gia Lam District, Hanoi (2010), Quan ho (love duet) singing in Bac Ninh Province ( 2009), Nha nhac (Vietnamese court music) in Hue imperial city and Gong culture in the Central Highlands region (2008).[db:内容2]

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