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CA HUE CLUB:

Paying tribute to predecessors and developing

TTH.VN - On August 20, 1983, Ca Hue Club (belonging to Hue Cultural House) officially came into being and was based in a small house at 47 Tran Hung Dao St. (presently Phu Xuan Bookstore.)

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Ca Hue is a type of traditional singing in Hue. Looking back at the 40-year-long journey, the club has greatly developed thanks to the love and welcome from artisans, singers and fans. It has been being maintained to express gratitude to its predecessors, who had quietly preserved and developed this art form. 

The three generations at the Ca Hue Club 

Expressing gratitude and paying tribute

The small room on the second floor at 47 Tran Hung Dao Str. had been the place where the best singers of Ca Hue came together every night. The audience were those who had a passion for the “specialty melody” of the Ancient Capital.  

The earliest singers and artists whom listeners must remember are Le Van Can playing the 4-chord lute, Nguyen Van Tan, the 2-chord fiddle, Excellent Artist Thai Hung, the moon lute, Chau Thoi, the 16-string zither and the singers Minh Tam, Thanh Tam, Kim Thanh, Quynh Hoa, Khanh Van, etc. Later other well-known Ca Hue artisans joined such as Ton That Toan, Ton That Dung, Tran Kich, Nguyen Ke, Quang Hai, Pham Van Thiet, Minh Man, Van Phi, Que Tran, Thanh Huong, Dieu Lien, and so on. 

Le Hoa (playing the zither) and Thai Hung (playing the 2-chord fiddle) 

The Ca Hue Club has also collaborated with the Hue Musical Troupe to perform theatre excerpts, thus diversifying its repertoire. Especially there is the participation of a family of four generations including Ngoc Yen and his wife Kim Oanh, their children, their sons-in-law and daughters-in-law, their grandsons and granddaughters among whom is their eldest son People's Artist Ngoc Binh, former Director of the Hue Musical Theater and Excellent Artist Kim Vang, who has been working with the club for 40 years now. They also serve as trainers for young artists. 

Beginning with periodic shows every week, the Ca Hue Club has so far given hundreds of successful performances. It also performed in the meetings welcoming visitors and guests both in and out of the country. 

Excellent Artist Kim Vang 

In retrospect, then-Chairman Hoang Lanh always brought the Ca Hue Club with him on his business trips. Ca Hue and the show Ao Dai and Folksongs always attracted people’s attention throughout the country.

Moreover, the Ca Hue Club has been invited to perform abroad in America (1995), Hong Kong (1996), Taiwan (1998), South Korea (2007), etc. Wherever they went, they were welcomed and loved by Vietnamese people living abroad.

Ca Hue - The beginning for an original tourist product

In January 1984 the Ca Hue Club pioneered in writing a new chapter for Ca Hue; it was the unique tourist product named “Getting on the Boat.” On a boat floating on the river, tourists can listen to Ca Hue melodies such as Mai nhi, Nam ai, Nam binh, Chau van, Co ban, Tu dai canh, etc. 

That tourist product also means the boatmen’s switch from life on the river to life on land, giving rise to the introduction of dragon boats carrying tourists to tourist sites at day and for Ca Hue at night.

Poet Vo Que has been the Chairman of the Ca Hue Club for 40 years now 

On August 20, 2013, on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Ca Hue Club, Chamber Ca Hue came into existence at Hue Museum of Culture, presently the Hue City Culture and Information Center with more than 60 members. Chamber Ca Hue is a significant activity aiming at preserving and promoting the value of the national cultural heritage. The performances are free on every Tuesday and Friday. 

Currently, the Ca Hue Club also gives musical instrument lessons such as 16-string zither, four-chord lute and moon lute to those who have a passion for traditional music. The artists who teach are Quoc Tuan and Tuan Hoang (moon lute,) Dinh Hung (2-chord fiddle,) Nguyen Hong Le (4-chord lute and monochord,) Quynh Nga (zither.) Besides, Hong Le, Quynh Nga, Trang Thuy, Dieu Binh, Le Minh Vu, Hoang Tuan, Kim Hong, Thuy Hong also compose lyrics for Ca Hue.

For nearly 10 years now the club has also given performances at high schools such as Quoc Hoc, Nguyen Hue, Chu Van An, Tay Loc, Phu Xuan, Nam Dong, etc. Ca Hue clubs have been founded at the three secondary schools Nguyen Tri Phuong, Thong Nhat and Tran Cao Van with nearly 100 student participants. What is more, the club has also given performances at social centers and hospitals to serve doctors and patients and on Buddhist and Catholic special occasions, and on Teachers’ Day, July 27, Women’s Day, Family Day and UNESCO Heritage Anniversary.

Those who preserve Ca Hue

Poet Vo Que, former Chairman of Hue Literature and Art Association and the founder of the Ca Hue Club, has been with the club for 40 years since the first days. He has always worked diligently and passionately to preserve Ca Hue and the club.

“As a child, I was immersed in music in my family and my native village, and Ca Hue is therefore absorbed into my body. We artists, both senior and young, try not only to maintain the club but also to preserve Ca Hue. We always remind each other to keep our reputation and to love and respect each other. Our fans near and far are waiting for us,” said he.

Ca Hue singers in a meeting with students 

During the 40 years of development, many artists passed away. But there appeared new ones too. Dieu Lien is almost 80, Kim Vang, 75, Quynh Hoa, nearly 70, but they are still working with us and helping train many young successful artists such as Le Minh Vu, Van Minh, Nguyen Tran Dong Hieu, etc. 

Forty years is not long, but it is not short either. The Ca Hue Club has been existing so far thanks to the love from artists, artisans, fans and local leaders in various stages.

Ca Hue was honored as national intangible cultural heritage in 2005 and is currently on the process of being submitted to UNESCO for its recognition as mankind’s intangible cultural heritage. We recognize the efforts of artisans and artists from the Ca Hue Club in preserving and promoting passionately the value of Ca Hue.

Story and photos: Nguyen Duy Hien
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