Overseas trips of Ca tru singer

Overseas trips of Ca tru singer
Ca tru singer Pham Thi Hue just finished a three-month trip to introduce Ca tru to students in the city of Cleveland (Ohio, USA). During her free time, she joined a world-music band. She is now in Taiwan to teach traditional music of Vietnam.

When she first came to Cleveland, Hue was overwhelmed by the US culture but the surprise and interest of American audiences for her ca tru made her feel confident. At first she thought she would take three months to teach ca tru in a school but then she knew that 12 primary schools and secondary schools were waiting for her.

At the beginning of the lesson, she introduced several features of geography, culture … of Vietnam, such as Vietnam’s 4000-year history, Nom script, the sculpture of the Bodhisattva of Mercy with a thousand eyes and a thousand hands, the Phat Diem stone church … then she talked about ca tru and performed ca tru.

According to Hue, American primary students were very open to foreign culture. They concentrated on her lesson and asked a lot of questions.

For high school students, Hue spent more time. At this age, most of students can play an instrument or pursue a certain art. They brought flutes, drums and violin to the class to play music with Hue, who played a dan day (Vietnamese plucked lute with three strings), through which she taught them how to feel and play with sound. She sometimes played music by her dan day for students to rap.

Hue went to the US in the framework of the Young Audience project. She was the first Vietnamese artist to join the project, followed by a painter from HCM City. Annually the Young Audiences invited 12 prominent artists from various fields of art around the world to introduce their arts to Cleveland students.

In addition to “show off” Ca tru to American youth, Hue also founded a band called Merging Clouds. She was introduced to a Brazilian-born guitarist, one who played tabla (Indian drum) and Linda, who sings and plays African drum. Every week they practiced together. “Every rehearsal we created a new work. Everyone was surprised. All works were formed in the spirit of improvisation. It is true that there is no border in music,” Hue said.

Also in Ohio, a man who played Vietnamese music though he has never been to Vietnam–named David, he came to see Hue. David learned Vietnamese music from Prof. Nguyen Phong Thuyet. He played a traditional pan-pine of Vietnam. They played music together, by dan day and pan-pine.

David was the one who encouraged Merging Clouds to make public performances and introduced Pham Thi Hue to the local media. A project to find funds for the band is being implemented so it is highly that Hue will return to Cleveland soon.

Just returning home from the U.S., Hue went to Taiwan for three weeks to teach Taiwanese artists to play the ancient pipa (four-chord lute), which lost in China and Taiwan.

In the early twentieth century, Chinese artists changed the system of frets of the pipa to make it similar to the guitar for easily integrating with symphony orchestras.

Hue and an American student.

Hue and an American student.

The Persian-origin pipa was imported into Vietnam, South Korea and Japan through China. The Japanese called it Biwa and kept it intact until today. The Taiwanese went to Japan to learn about the ancient pipa and now invited Hue to Taiwan to teach them about it.

For a long time the National Music Academy of Vietnam has changed the fret of pipa to make it close to the West, with the playing technique also be changed. Hue fortunately met with pipa researcher Bui Trong Hien, who encouraged Hue to learn the traditional style from senior artisans.

“At that time I thought that one day I would go to China to teach them to play the ancient pipa that they have lost,” recalled Hue. And 20 years later, that idea has been implemented in Taiwan.

Last year, Taiwanese Prof. Wang took a student to Vietnam and asked Hue to teach her playing the ancient pipa and teach him playing dan day.

He bought 10 dan bau (Vietnamese monochord) 10 pipa, 7 dan nguyet (Vietnamese two-chord guitar) and some dan tranh (16-chord zither) to prepare for the ancient Vietnamese music class at the National Taiwan University of Arts this July, where Hue taught 27 Taiwanese students to play Hue court music, cheo, Hue music and cai luong.

Ca tru – “song with clappers” – also known as hat a dao, is an ancient genre of chamber music featuring female vocalists, with origins in northern Vietnam. For much of its history, it was associated with a geisha-like form of entertainment, which combined entertaining wealthy people as well as performing religious songs for the royal court. Ca tru was recognized as Intangible Cultural Heritage in need of Urgent Safeguarding by the UNESCO in 2009.

Ca tru artist Pham Thi Hue, 40, is the founder and owner of the Thang Long Ca Tru Club in Hanoi and a leading exponent in the revival of Ca tru singing throughout Vietnam.

With the creation of the Thang Long Ca tru club (located at 87 Ma May, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi) Hue was able to develop a platform dedicated to the preservation and presentation of Ca tru in an authentic setting. In addition to offering performances every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Hue has recruited a number of young acolytes to continue the tradition of Ca tru. Her work with the younger generation has earned her widespread recognition from her peers, including ethnomusicologist Bui Trong Hien, folk arts expert To Ngoc Thanh Thanh, Prof. Tran Van Khe and the UNESCO, while her creative and authentic presentations has made the Ca trù Thang Long Club a highly recommended tourist attraction.

Tien Phong

Source: tcgd theo VNN