Recently, it’s more familiar for foreigners to hear about two Vietnamese art genres recognized as world heritage: Hau dong (Hầu đồng) and Quan ho (Quan họ).
Hau dong (Hầu Đồng) is a ritual of spirit mediumship in connection with Dao Mau, a Vietnamese Mother Goddess religion. Vietnamese people utilise Hau dong as a way to create a connection between practitioners and deities, with whom they attempt to communicate. Scholars have shown Hau dong to be a spectacular showcase of much of Vietnamese culture in general.
Another Vietnam’s art genre recognized as UNESCO world intangible cultural heritage is Quan ho Singing (hát Quan họ). In the provinces of Bắc Ninh and Bắc Giang in northern Viet Nam, many of the villages are twinned, reinforcing their relationship through social customs such as Quan họ Bắc Ninh folk songs. The songs are performed as alternating verses between two women from one village who sing in harmony, and two men from another village who respond with similar melodies, but with different lyrics. The women traditionally wear distinctive large round hats and scarves; the men’s costumes include turbans, umbrellas and tunics. The more than 400 song lyrics, sung with 213 different melody variations, express people’s emotional states of longing and sadness upon separation, and the happiness of the meeting of lovers, but custom forbids marrying a singing partner.
A typical Hau Dong performance show
Those two unique art genres will be showcased in Netherlands soon next months
At Aug 23, at Hai Phong Cheo Theatre, the art group named “Quan ho – Len dong: Two world’s heritage” has their final rehearsal before the trip to Netherlands to showcase for Vietnamese community there on occasion of Vietnam’s National Day (Sep 2) and attend Embassy Festival along with 30 other art groups.
Taking the invitation of Vietnam’s Embassy in Netherlands, it will be the first time for Vietnamese folk artists to introduce two world heritages (Quan ho Singing and Hau dong) to international audience and Vietnamese community in Netherlans.
With merely 13 members, the team have to try their best. One artist must take more than one role during the show to interpret truly the essence and uniqueness of the two art genres during 60-minute-show.
The showcase’s leader is folk artisan Tran Nguyen Thi Trung, known as “two-heritage woman”. She has learned about Quan ho when she was a child. It’s not too much to say Trung was born in the crib of Quan ho Art. Now, she takes charge of Vice Head of Quan ho Club of Lim village and at the same time, a Medium with 37 years of seniority.
There are many other famous and influential folk artisans attending the showcase. The art group have two performances: “Ngoi tua song dao” and “Gia chau co Chin”. The Embassy Festival V would take place at The Hauge on Sep 1-2.