Thursday, 25/10/2018 15:06

Sóc Trăng singer lights up cải lương stage

Star attraction: Young actress Lam Thi Kim Cuong (right), a student at the Can Tho College of Culture and Arts, won the 2018 Chuong Vang (Golden Bell) Award from HCM City Television. Photo courtesy of organisers
Viet Nam News

By Thu Anh

"Everything that I am now is due to my love for cai luong," said Lam Thi Kim Cuong of Soc Trang Province, the winner of HCM City Television’s 2018 Chuong Vang (Golden Bell) Award.

Audiences who have seen Cuong’s performances on stage have been deeply moved by the power of cai luong (reformed opera), the south’s most popular form of traditional music.

Twenty-year-old Cuong has faced challenges trying to lure audiences back to cai luong theatre.

“I realised that without the fans’ support, cai luong would not survive,” said Cuong, speaking before nearly 1,000 guests at the awards ceremony at the 2018 Golden Bell Awards at the HCM City Television Studio recently. 

The event aimed to find and encourage young talents for the region’s traditional theatre.   

Cuong competed with eight other singers to win the prize.

She captured the hearts of the judges and audiences by singing excerpts from Chuyen Tam Cam (The Tale of Tam and Cam), a play based on a popular Vietnamese fairy tale. 

She also performed Tieng Nguyet Cam (Voice of the Moon-shaped Guitar), a famous vong co (nostalgic tunes) song, a genre of traditional music, written by veteran composer Huynh Thanh Tuan.

She received VND100 million (US$4,300) in cash along with her trophy. 

“I gave everything I had in my performance. It has been a long and hard road to be here today,” said Cuong, a student at Can Tho College of Culture and Arts.

Born into a poor family in Soc Trang, Cuong began singing cai luong when she was a child.

Her first lessons came from her grandfather, a musician in a travelling art troupe in the Mekong River Delta region.  

Cuong and her older sisters sang cai luong together while raising ducks in the paddy fields.

“My sister, Lam Ngoc Hoa, participated and won the second Silver Prize at the 2013 Golden Bell Awards. She now works for the Cao Van Lau Cai Luong Theatre in Bac Lieu Province. She’s my idol,” said Cuong.

Cuong said Hoa had offered financial support while she was at the college.

“Hoa told me only education would help us develop our art.”    

To prepare for her appearance at the 2018 Golden Bell Awards, Cuong studied singing and dancing.

She was also trained by veteran artists Phuong Loan, Que Tran and Huu Quoc. 

“Cuong is very talented. Her beauty and sweet voice are often her signature attraction. She will be a star in the future with her hard work,” said Meritorious Artist Phuong Loan, who has nearly 30 years of experience in the industry. 

"The work of young female performers like Cuong proves that cai luong is still alive," added Loan.

While Cuong deeply respects her older colleagues, she doesn’t want to live in their shadow. 

To escape from under it, Cuong said she had worked hard to demonstrate her own personal style and innovation on stage.

Cai luong has a distinctly urban feel and I think we have enough to attract young people,” she said. VNS


Signature style: Lam Thi Kim Cuong works hard to demonstrate her own personal style and innovation on stage. Photo courtesy of organisers
Fresh talent: Young artists perform at the 2018 Golden Bell Awards organised by HCM City Television. The event aimed to find and encourage young talents for the region’s traditional theatre. Photo courtesy of organisers

Comments (0)

Related content