Wednesday, 11/04/2018 16:00

Vietnamese discover newfound love for Xẩm singing

A Xam performance by Dao Bach Linh, one of the younger Xam singers and head of the Hai Thanh Xam Club in the northern port city of Hai Phong. — Photo courtesy of Dao Bach Linh
Viet Nam News

HA NOI — An increasing number of fans of Xam singing has stirred a wave among folk musicians looking to recover and preserve the traditional form of music.

Over the past two years, a lot of folk music featuring Xam (blind busker’s singing) has been performed in celebratory events and cultural festivals across the country, including pagodas and temples and even family parties.

Locally known as a chieu Xam, or a band of traditional musicians including one Xam singer, is often performed in public places, including parks and cafes.

Dao Bach Linh, 37, is one of the younger singers and head of the Hai Thanh Xam Club in the northern port city of Hai Phong.

Linh told Viet Nam News on Wednesday that increasing support and passion of people in Hai Phong City motivated him to perform the music in a way that made it more popular among people and encouraged singers to preserve it.

“Whether they are held indoors or outdoors, in public places or cafes, all chieu Xam performances attract a large crowd,” he said.

Last weekend, in the capital city of Ha Noi, the Ha Thanh Xam group organised a special performance at the traditional musical centre on Ha Noi’s walking street near Hoan Kiem (Returned Sword) Lake to commemorate Xam’s ancestors.

The show attracted a large audience comprising both locals and visitors.

Mai Tuyet Hoa, a Xam singer and member of the group, said the traditional singing helped her to connect with people.

"Love of the audience, particularly the youth, including children and students, encourages me to sing with passion," according to Hoa.

Hoa said she was planning to start a project to train the youth to become Xam singers in an effort to restore and preserve the traditional folk songs of the country.

Xam songs was traditionally sung by blind artistes, who wandered from town to town to earn their livelihood. Gradually, this form of singing became popular in the northern region of Viet Nam since 14th century.

The singing was at risk of fading into oblivion until the Government and cultural authorities started a campaign in 2005 to promote and preserve it. — VNS 

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