Traditional Vietnamese music festival kicks off in Bac Lieu

By Minh Hung, Thanh Nien News

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A performance of don ca tai tu, Vietnam's traditional music of the south, in Bac Lieu Province. PHOTO COURTESY OF BAC LIEU ONLINE
A national festival dedicated to traditional don ca tai tu musical genre will be held in the southern province of Bac Lieu from April 23-29.
The festival is the first to be held since the genre was recognized as a UNESCO intangible cultural heritage in mid-2013.
The event will include a number of activities, including musical performances, a southern food festival, an exhibition of ornamental creatures, a trade fair and a musical exhibition.
"Don ca" means "to play" [a musical instrument and sing]. "Tai tu" has been translated variously as "amateur," "talent" or "inspiration."
According to the festival organizers, popular artists will teach tourists to sing popular traditional songs during the festival.
More than 300 student volunteers will welcome tourists during the festival and supply additional information about the event.
Le Thi Ai Nam, deputy chairman of the Bac Lieu People’s Committee and the festival’s spokesperson, said the focus of the event will be composers and performance artists who have contributed to the preservation and promotion of the genre.
The event is expected to draw artists from 21 cities and provinces nationwide.
“Most artists cannot earn a living from don ca tai tu," Nam said. "As such, we've establish a fund to support them."
Traditional music extravaganza
Included in the festival’s main events are performances of the major masterpieces by traditional composers Trong Nguyen and Yen Lang followed by an exhibition of traditional musical instruments. 
Bac Lieu authorities will grant prizes to winners of the “Bac Lieu Development” photojournalism contest.
A kite festival will be held on April 25, the festival’s official launch ceremony, and continue until April 27 at the Nha Mat Resort.
Bac Lieu authorities will also unveil a museum dedicated to don ca tai tu and the genre’s most famous composer Cao Van Lau (1890-1976).
The festival will conclude with the Tran Huu Trang cai luong competition which is one of the most prestigious events for singers in the southern musical tradition.
A seminar on preserving and promoting the values of don ca tai tu inviting renown experts in the field to draft a plan for the genre's preservation and development.
In addition, a caravan team of 19 vintage automobiles will travel from Ho Chi Minh City to Bac Lieu to promote the festival.
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