Culture Culture

08/10/2017 - 13:31

Trinh's music in harmony with Ca Hue

The lyrics of Trinh Cong Son and of Nguyen Duy started, in harmony with the ancient music, which is the unique feature of the music and arts exchange program "Vong Co Do" (Nostalgia for Ancient Capital) brought to the audience on the evening of 26/9.

The program has the participation of famous Vietnamese artists


"Vong Co Do" is an art program combining traditional music and contemporary poetry, with the theme of Hue, with the purpose of honoring both ancient and modern cultural values ​​of Vietnam. They are Hue royal court music, and the traditional music with a long history of the Northern Delta: Cheo singing, Ca tru singing, Chau van singing, Xam singing. Especially, with this program, the sound of ancient music is harmonized and inspired by the lyrics of the composer Trinh Cong Son and the poem by the poet Nguyen Duy, two contemporary values ​​of Vietnamese culture. The memory of musician Trinh Cong Son in the lyrics is embedded in the tone of Hue music. The poetic aspirations of the poet Nguyen Duy in the poem "Cry for Emperor Duy Tan" shows his love for Hue in the sentimentality of Cung Bac - Dieu Nam. The succinct and brief show is performed by musicians and artists of the Dong Kinh ancient music group and Phu Xuan club.

"Diem xua" (Diem of the Old Days) performed in the sound of monochord and two-chord fiddle

The show continues to give the audience other nice surprises. Through the voice of artist Kiều Oanh (Dong Kinh ancient music group), the song "Biet dau nguon coi" (The Unbeknown Root) written by the late composer Trinh Cong Son is blended with Hue tune of “Ho mai nhi” and “Tuong tu khuc”, the song "Temporary Stay" is changed to Hue lay singing. It sounds strange but still very harmonious when the lyrics of Trinh resound in Hue folk song.

Artist Kieu Oanh sings " O tro” (Temporary Stay), "Biet dau nguon coi" (The Unbeknown Root) in Hue folk tunes

Many poems written about Hue by the poet Nguyen Duy: Passing by the Citadel, Hue Dream, Remembering You (a gift to the writer Hoang Phu Ngoc Tuong), Line and Picture (a gift to the musician Trinh Cong Son), Remembrance - Cry for Emperor Duy Tan ... rhythmically go into the audience’s hearts though the vocal, the lute of People's Artist Thanh Hoai, Xuan Dao, Minh Minh, Thuy Ngan of the Dong Kinh ancient music group, along with the author's emotional voice reading the poems. Nguyen Duy's poetry is sung to Cheo’s tunes, Chau van singing, Xam singing, Van singing and Hau dong singing as a cultural advance of traditional music and contemporary poetry. Audiences also enjoy the ancient songs "Tuong tu khuc" and "Nam ai, Nam Binh" performed by Hue artist Thanh Tam.

Interesting experiment

With the program "Vong Co Do", the organizers including Trinh Cong Son's family and poet Nguyen Duy want it to be understood asa cultural exchange built by the love for the Ancient Capital. The program is the Vietnamese cultural festival on the ancient land, the meeting between today's poetry and music of the past, between the sounds of Hue music with the color of the North music. The poet Nguyen Duy confides: "My poetry was played by Dong Kinh ancient music group three years ago and very successful. I am very happy and touched because my poems are close to folk songs and are now sung with traditional music, and the audience excitedly enjoy them. "

Audiences also have a chance to listen to genuine Ca Hue through the voice of great artist Thanh Tam

With Trinh Cong Son's music, this is an exciting experiment in the chain of programs to diversify Trinh Cong Son’s music that the musician’s family wants to perform. Singer Trinh Vinh Trinh says: "Our family wants to continue to experiment with Son's lyrics in different musical genres. Previously, the combination of Trinh music with Western classical music through the piano of Tuan Manh, saxophonist Tran Manh Tuan, An Tran was very successful. His music has been brought to the world, and now we want to bring his music back to his roots when combining the lyrics of Trinh Cong Son with the tune of Ca Hue. "

People’s artist Xuan Huach performs Xam Ngong

This is also the first time Trinh Cong Son's lyrics are mixed with Ca Hue. In order to create that harmony, the programmers had to work very hard. As they do not want to break the lyrics of Trinh Cong Son, the performers have to calculate each word one by one, the snatch, the stress, the ligature ... Mr Dam Quang Minh, who is very knowledgeable about traditional music of Vietnam and the one who connects the musical stories together in this program says: "This is an experiment that shows the love of the composer Trinh Cong Son’s family for Hue. We only dare to put his lyrics into the tunes of Ca Hue to create new shades. Choosing songs that match the tunes of Ca Hue is very difficult, we could only do that thanks to the knowledgeable Hue musicians. There is no technique, skill or artifice here because we do not want to do this with Trinh music, we just repeat the story of the tradition through some of Trinh's lyrics. This is also our love for composer Trinh Cong Son, and we could only tell his story by the musical instruments of our nation.”

Nguyen Duy’s poetry is recited in the style of Hau dong singing

Artist Kieu Oanh shares that she is quite thrilled to perform the music of Trinh’s on the tunes of Ca Hue: "The songs ‘Temporary Stay’ and ‘The Unbeknown Root’ were mixed with the new music, now are applied to Hue tunes; that is a challenge. The more challenging thing is I am from the North, while in Hue there are many talented artists singing Ca Hue so well. Because of my love for Hue and my mother who is a Ca Hue singer, I try my best to bring new breath to the show. "

As it is an experimental program, audiences are quite selective with just 250 seats, with audiences from Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang. If the response of the audience is good, the organizers expect to continue to experiment further. Writer To Nhuan Vy commented "For the first time, a program like this was held in Hue, with the participation of leading Vietnamese artists, I think it is not simple. The combination of lyrics from Trinh Cong Son and Ca Hue is a precious experience, strange when we first heard but it is still so unique. These music programs are also a chance to preserve traditional values ​​of the nation.”

Story and photo: Trang Hien