Tran Lam Thuy: Preserving and Developing Local Folk Songs, VIETNAM

Preserving and Developing Local Folk Songs

Posted: Tuesday, October 18, 2011 




Among cultural treasures of Nghe An ProvinceViand Giam (singing by repartees while working) is the two most unique kinds of folk-song which are unable to be confused with any other folk-songs nationwide. For a period, people ever worried about the risk of falling in oblivion and getting lost of Vi, Giam folk-song. However, these music kinds have been developing prosperously. This is significantly attributed to the local people and cultural authorities’ awareness of preservation as well as the ability of adaptation to the current life of Vi, Giam folk-songs by themselves. The reasons are the foundation based on which authorities of Nghe An and Ha Tinh unanimously approved to build a UNESCO dossier of the two folk-songs, aiming to have them recognized as the world’s intangible cultural heritages.   
Since 1972 after a decision of establishing Nghe Tinh Folk Song Troupe (now upgraded into Center for Preservation and Development of Nghe Area’s Folk Songs), the development work of folk songs has been paid special attention, both in learning and practice. During the period from 1976 to 2010, the departments of culture, sports and tourism cooperated with Institutes of Music, Stage and Society of Folk Arts to organized five seminars on preservation and development of Nghe area’s folk songs, especially Vi, Giam. During the workshops, many cultural experts and artists attended and gave opinions. In 1985, the two provinces started to teach Vi, Giam folk songs at school and in 1996, the Nghe An radio and television launched a program of teaching folk songs monthly for three continuous years. In the time to come the program will be resumed. The province also held many competitions on folk songs at school yearly, brought folk songs into art festivals and built folk song clubs at the community. Generally, Nghe An mobilized almost all of forces in order to bring folk songs close to the working classes.   
For Vi, Giam folk songs in particular, that they are absent from community activities is unavoidable because the process of industrialization and modernization which has brought great changes to the public lifestyle. The disappearance of traditional craft villages is among reasons for which Vi, Giam performances became the past. However, these kinds of folk-songs have strong ability of adaptation. Vi, Giam melodies have been adapted and sang on stages, art festivals of schools, offices. Many musicians have used tunes of Vi, Giam folk songs in their works, even many youngers adapted Vi, Giam tunes into hip hop. 
With its adaptive ability, Vi, Giam folk songs should be included in tours as a local
spiritual speciality. Regrettably, there haven’t had any travel agents in Nghe An introducing Vi, Giam folk songs in tours. In future, the combination will be an opportunity to introduce Nghe area’s culture in general and Vi, Giam folk songs in particular to tourists, contributing to boost the provincial economy and tourism. 
In the context of integration and development, Nghe area, like other regions nationwide, will meet both advantages and challenges. The important thing is to orient the purpose of building a culture with full national character. Vi, Giam folk songs are element of Nghe area’s culture and high adaptive. The preservation and development of these kinds of folk songs will be surely successful if we know the way to put them into the epoch trend.  
Tran Lam Thuy

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