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Experts want digital archive for ceremonial singing

Folk music researchers support the creation of a digital archive of ca tru (ceremonial singing) owned by a State-run agency to preserve the traditional art form and gather scattered materials owned by individual artists and researchers.

Researcher Bui Trong Hien has proposed setting up a general stock of ca tru.

He said currently, some examples of the singing are held by the Vietnam Music Institute, some by the National Culture and Arts Institute, and others are owned by private collectors and researchers.

Digital archive, ceremonial singing, Folk music researchers,  ca tru, traditional art form, ca tru artists, digital form

A performance by the young Thang Long ca tru group at the Ngoc Ha ancient communal house in Hanoi's Ba Dinh district.

The audio is contained on CDs, DVDs, tapes and video cassettes. Researcher Nguyen Quang Long agreed the task is very important.

A few years ago, Hien was doing some research on ca tru, when he borrowed ten tapes from an artist. But all of them had got mouldy. Hien had to painstakingly clean the tapes with alcohol and a soft piece of cotton. It took him two weeks to digitally record the songs from the tapes.

Long also recorded Nguyen Phu De’s performances five years ago as part of a project hosted by the Music Publishing House.

Long said other agencies like the Radio Voice of Vietnam, Music Publishing House Dihavina have recorded performances by various ca tru artists to keep as archives.

Long also revealed that though the Music Institute possesses an extensive array of recordings, it is just for reference as most of the songs were not recorded in a studio, meaning the quality is often poor.

Records by the Music Publishing House are more profitable as they can be copied for sale to the public.

Long suggested that the archives of the Music Publishing House should be digitalised for preservation.

Hien also stressed the need to change the sound recorded into a digital form.

“The cassette tapes may get mouldy, which affects the quality,” he said.

He also said the sound on the old tapes should be cleaned up before being transformed into digital.

“Modern software can help improve the sound,” he said.

Both researchers suggested setting up a general stock of ca tru art for researchers and new performers.

Ca tru is a complex form of sung poetry found in the north of Vietnam from the 11th century on, using lyrics written in traditional Vietnamese poetic forms.

For much of its history, it was associated with a geisha-like form of entertainment, which combined entertaining wealthy people as well as performing religious songs for the royal court.

Festival fuels hope for young and talented Ca Tru practitioners
The curtain came down on the 2018 National Ca Tru (ceremonial singing) Festival in Ha Tinh province. The four-day festival attracted nearly 300 artists and instrumentalists from 13 cities and provinces across the country. With an increased number of young artisans, the festival has fuelled the hope for a younger and talented generation of Ca Tru practitioners.
 
National Ca Tru Festival opens in Ha Tinh
More than 300 artists and instrumentalists from 13 cities and provinces are gathering at the National Ca Tru (ceremonial singing) Festival that kicked off on November 1 night in the central province of Ha Tinh. 
 
National Ca Tru Festival to take place next month
Ca Tru singing troupes from 13 provinces and cities nationwide will gather in the central province of Ha Tinh early next month for the National Ca Tru (ceremonial singing) Festival 2018.
 
4 districts and city granted A prizes at provincial cheo singing festival
(BGO) – The Bac Giang Provincial Cheo (Vietnamese traditional opera) Singing Festival 2019 was held on July 10 – 11 at Song Thuong Cinema (Bac Giang city) by the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, drawing the participation of more than 300 artists and musicians in the community art troops from 10 districts and city.
 
Xoan singing – the miraculous revival
Xoan singing, a traditional ritual art form, is believed to date back to the time of the Hung kings (2890 BC to 250 BC) in the ancestral land of Phu Tho. In 2011, Xoan singing was inscribed on UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding. 
 

Source: VNS/VNA

Digital archive, ceremonial singing, Folk music researchers, ca tru, traditional art form, ca tru artists, digital form
 
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