A performance of Hue Singing. Photo: Dang Tuyen
"Ca Huế on the Perfume River," first published in Hà Nội Magazine and later selected as a model essay for 7th grade literature textbook, features the accumulated feelings of a "nomad traveler” enjoying a night of Hue Singing on the Perfume River for the first time.
I believe many people will understand, appreciate, and cherish Hue Singing more when reading the memoir with powerful images and sounds: "In the rooster crows of Tho Cuong village and the five bell chimes from Thien Mu pagoda, music and singing still fill the floating boats,” Ha Anh Minh vividly described.
It is not a coincidence that Hue Singing has been honored and recognized as national intangible cultural heritage. Hue Singing was originally a scholarly performance for art-loving elites, also known as “hát cửa quyền” (singing at the royal palace).
Over time, this chamber kind of music has become more accessible to all walks of life. Hue Singing is the ancient capital's soul, created and enriched by talented artisans to form a sophisticated system of songs with highly artistic melodies, poetic literary lyrics, exquisite singing techniques, and perfect instrumental beat.
Listening to Hue Singing has become a pleasure for Hue people and a welcome gift for visitors to the ancient capital.
If I could choose a cultural highlight in 2019, I would nominate the introduction of Hue Singing heritage into schools. This is a new yet promising program formed according to the cooperation of the Department of Culture and Sport with the Department of Education and Training of Thua Thien Hue.
The program has two core components: organizing a training course on Hue Singing for music teachers and performing Hue Singing to students in the form of music clubs at some junior high schools in Hue city.
The introduction of Hue Singing to schools not only teaches local students to sing the songs of Hue Singing but also helps students realize the underlying human values of each song, thereby contributing to raising the awareness, appreciation, and responsibility of the younger generations in protecting and promoting the values of Hue heritage.
With their recognized cultural values, Hue Singing to be taught at schools will be a conscious policy of Thua Thien Hue province to preserve and promote the identity and cultural values of this unique art form.
By Dan Duy