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Vietnam’s ceremonial singing ‘ca tru’ honored by Google Doodle

Sunday, February 23, 2020, 11:08 GMT+7
Vietnam’s ceremonial singing ‘ca tru’ honored by Google Doodle
‘Ca tru’ is honored by Google Doodle on February 23, 2020. Photo provided by Google

‘Ca tru,’ a type of Vietnamese ceremonial singing, was honored by Google Doodle on Sunday to mark the anniversary of Vietnam’s traditional musical genre.

A painting of a typical ‘ca tru’ performance, which includes a female vocalist and two men playing distinctive musical instruments, all of whom sit on a bamboo mat, was featured on the Google frontpage.

A Google representative considered the occasion a good way to preserve ‘ca tru’ and raise awareness of the traditional art among the public, especially the young generations.

“We also want to promote the sense of pride and national spirit, encourage young Vietnamese people to learn more about the country’s traditional culture and art, and boost the interest of the international community in this unique form of ceremonial singing,” the representative stated.

A ‘ca tru’ performance at a house in Hanoi. Photo: Ha Tuong / Tuoi Tre

A ‘ca tru’ performance at a house in Hanoi. Photo: Ha Tuong / Tuoi Tre

Bui Trong Hien, a Vietnamese researcher, expressed his joy while also highlighting his concern over the gradual oblivion of ‘ca tru.’

“Pho Thi Kim Duc is the only true and professional ‘ca tru’ singer in the country at the moment. Many young singers nowadays do not have the proper skills and training to master the form of art,” Hien elaborated.

Kim Duc shared a similar opinion during an interview with Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.

Duc, who is now 89, said she had begun training when she was 12 years old.

The artist has taught the art to only about seven people, four of whom are her granddaughters, so far. Some of her students have been learning it for nearly two decades.

Vietnamese ‘ca tru’ artist Pho Thi Kim Duc is in this file photo.

Vietnamese ‘ca tru’ artist Pho Thi Kim Duc is seen in this file photo.

‘Ca tru,’ which literally translates as tally card songs, is a form of ceremonial singing originating in northern Vietnam.

The art appeared in 11th century, but it was not until the 13th century, during the Ly Dynasty, that it was officially recognized as a form of entertainment for the royal court.

In October 2009, the Vietnamese ceremonial singing was officially recognized by the UNESCO as world intangible cultural heritage in need of preservation. 

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