Bac Ninh folk songs recognized as world heritage

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Vietnam's Quan ho Bac Ninh (a folk song from Bac Ninh province) has been recognized as an intangible world heritage by UNESCO, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism announced Wednesday.

Le Thi Minh Ly, a ministry official, said the UNESCO Committee on Intangible Cultural Heritage has recognized 76 out of 111 submissions from 34 countries as Masterpieces of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity at its fourth session from September 28 to October 2, in the United Arab Emirates.

Quan ho Bac Ninh was one of the cultural heritages chosen, Ly said, adding the committee is considering recognizing some other Vietnamese cultural traditions, including Ca tru (ceremonial songs).

Quan ho (alternate singing) originated in erstwhile Ha Bac Province (now ivided into Bac Ninh and Bac Giang provinces). Traditionally sung acappella, quan ho includes repartees composed on the spot and is also used in courtship rituals.

Ca tru is an ancient genre of chamber music featuring female vocalists originating in northern Vietnam.

Apart from Quan ho Bac Ninh, Vietnam has two other intangible heritages recognized by UNESCO - the Central Highlands Gong Culture and Nha Nhac Hue (Royal court music from Hue).

There are two main types of gongs: cong and chieng. Cong has a knob in the middle and delivers a deep bass sound, while the chieng is more melodious.

Hue court music, which originated in the 13th century, was traditionally performed at coronations, royal funerals and other ceremonial occasions.

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