Vietnam folk music genre set to seek UNESCO status
The Folk Singing Promotion and Preservation Center in the central Vietnamese province of Nghe An has compiled a dossier on the local Nghe folk singing for submission for recognition as a UNESCO world intangible cultural heritage by 2015.
Nguyen Ngoc At, head of the center, said there are 32 professional Nghe folk singing troupes.
Eight artists belonging to these troupes have been honored as National Folk Artists.
The center is collecting documents, photos, recordings, and video clips about the art form to promote it at home and abroad, he said.
Last October the first Nghe folk singing festival was held in the province.
Quan ho folk song contest launched
A Quan Ho (love duet singing) contest was held on February 1 and 2 at the Kinh Bac Cultural Centre in Bac Ninh city with the participation of 36 singing duos from the local area.
In addition to the 200 Quan Ho duets sung by the 36 duos, over 100 artists and musicians from eight local art troupes are also taking part in the competition.
At the contest, the artists and singers performed Quan Ho tunes and songs praising the beauty of Bac Ninh and its people.
The event is a beautiful custom of the people in Bac Ninh and is held annually to help preserve and promote Quan Ho singing, which has been recognised by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
The two-day contest was organised by the Bac Ninh Department of Culture, Sports, and Tourism.
Music star paid fine after helmetless pictures leaked
Local music superstar Ho Ngoc Ha and billionaire hubby Nguyen Quoc Cuong voluntarily paid their fine after pictures capturing the pair riding a motorbike without helmets were leaked on the Internet last week.
Ho Ngoc Ha and Quoc Cuong wrote on their Facebook page on Tuesday that they went to a police station to pay VND 570,000 (US$ 27) for their traffic violation although there was no request from the authorities for them to do so.
The leaked pictures triggered a wave of excitement among Ha’s broad fan base, who rarely have chance to see such moments from their idol’s daily life.
Meanwhile, they sparked criticism from others, who opined that as an influential figure in the entertainment industry, Ha should not set a bad example by violating traffic rules.
Ha’s spokesperson commented that the pictures were taken on an evening when the pair went out for some ice-cream at a nearby shop in their rich Phu My Hung neighborhood.
“They rode on a residential road,” the spokesperson said, adding that the shop was just a few hundred meters away from their house, and so the pair thought they did not need to wear helmets.
Newswire Vietnamnet opined that the powerful couple’s action was to ease the clash of opposing ideas, and prove that a star of Ha’s calibre would not need to pull a publicity stunt like that.
S. Korean actors to attend cinema opening
Three famous South Korean actors and actress will arrive in Hanoi to open the new cineplex Lotte Cinema Landmark this Friday.
Actors Seong Dong II and Kim Jeong Tae, who star in 2011 police movie “Special Investigation Unit” and actress Park Yae Yin of the 2011 “Mr.Idol” which shed light on the Korean competitive music industry will be guests at the opening of the third Lotte Cinema in Vietnam.
The two movies will be screened free of charge at the place from Friday to Sunday.
The three artists will leave their handprints at the cinema, followed by a meeting with fans and interaction with local press.
The event will also feature performances by both local and Korean music and dance troupes like St. 319, Tuxedo&Aodai and F.Sharp.
LotteCinema Landmark will be one of only a few cinemas in Hanoi with the most advanced infrastructure and technology including Vietnam’s biggest 3D cinema with 301 seats and 3D RealD and four dimension sound systems.
Discount tickets cost VND 40,000 per person and will be available for first screenings on weekdays from Monday till Friday; students on Wednesdays and membership card holders on Thursdays.
The opening is taking place on Friday on the 6th floor of the Parkson Plaza Department Store in Keangnam Landmark, Pháº¡m HÃ¹ng, Hanoi.
Film on disputed Vietnamese islands to be screened in Europe
French filmmaker AndrÃ© Menras, who also holds a Vietnamese citizenship under the name Ho Cuong Quyet, is set to tour some European countries in February to promote his documentary “Hoang Sa Viet Nam: Noi dau mat mat” (Vietnam Hoang Sa: the pain of loss) in February.
The film, which premiered last June at a seminar on East Sea issues in Paris, is about the problems Vietnam faces due to China’s encroachment of her islands.
The 56-minute documentary explores the lives of the women and children left behind by fishermen husbands and fathers who have gone missing at sea and/or have been impoverished by China’s policies in the East Sea.
In an email to Thanh Nien, Menras said he would urge people seeking peace and justice to apply as honorary citizens of Hoang Sa Archipelago to affirm Vietnam’s sovereignty over it.
His European tour will be supported by Vietnamese living in France, Germany, and the Czech Republic.
In France, the screenings will begin after a meeting with students in Lyon on February 5.
A screening in Toulouse on France’s southern coast will begin with a meeting with fishermen.
Screenings in Germany, the Czech Republic, and some other countries will follow. Menras said many people in France had encouraged his screening plans as well as Vietnam’s defense of its territorial rights.
Hue’s 98 ancient houses wiped out
Ninety eight ancient garden houses, typical of Hue’s age-old tradition and sophisticated architecture have ‘disappeared’ over the past six years, a report from Hue People’s Committee meeting last December revealed.
The shocking report stated that only 52 of a total of 150 estates, which were listed as provincial heritages in need of protection by local government, still retained their original shape and structure.
Hue’s garden houses, normally a large wooden house surrounded by a spacious garden, embody symbolic values of the old capital’s culture, architecture, history, religion and art and have been designated as tourist attractions.
However, over the past six years, 98 of these 150 houses have either been dismantled, destroyed, or their gardens appropriated for other purposes, despite the adoption of a governmental project in 2006 to preserve these structures.
The revelation comes as an irony as in 2012, Hue will play host to the national Northern Central Tourism Campaign to promote heritage tourism in the region.
Among many reasons that force its owners to damage the original architecture is the growing need for living spaces, as the family size of the houses’ heirs keep growing through time.
A garden house built in 1932 and located at 38/3 Le Thanh Ton street (Hue) lost its entire surrounding garden to two modern two-storey buildings put up on both sides.
“Our family has ten people, we can’t just live cramped in the old wooden house forever,” the owner’s son told Tuoi Tre.
The nobleman Tuy An’s house at 96 Nguyen Chi Thanh Street, which was constructed in 1844, is another example of badly preserved heritages in Hue.
Located in Gia Hoi ancient town, once famously home to many members of the Nguyen Royal family, the main wooden house is now surrounded not by spacious gardens, but 14 new small houses occupied by their descendants.
Other houses that can stand the erosion of time and human habitation have now closed their doors to curious foreign tourists who know the sites through their travel guidebooks or local tour operators.
Nguyen Thi Minh Trang, owner of the garden house at 1 Phu Mong, Kim Long, complained that though the government’s preservation project was authorized nearly six years ago, it failed to provide any financial support to owners like her who opened their doors to tourists.
“Every day I had to dress up nicely, make tea for the tourists and then sit to answer hundreds of their questions without making any money.
“I have to support myself so I decided to close the house to have time to work,” Trang said.
Although most of the estates’ owners turned their guests away, some still, unwillingly, operated as tourist attractions since local tour operators kept taking tourists to their doors.
Hue’s government issued a decision to protect these heritages in 2006, which led to an authorized preservation project for 150 garden houses in need of safeguarding.
However, the project had, until recently, got stuck in the bureaucratic labyrinth and its implementation fell far too short of local demands.
Ngo Anh Tuan, deputy head of Hue’s People Committee said excessive bureaucracy and a lack of coordination among related agencies were to blame.
Hanoi concerts to honor late musician
Concerts to commemorate the renowned, late musician Trinh Cong Son will be held at L’Espace in Hanoi on February 28 and 29.
Trinh Cong Son Music Night, themed “Floating Memories,” will reveal the feeling of three young musicians on their path to discovering simple beauty and peace.
Backed by the sweet melodies of Anh Tu’s violin and the subtle guitar of Anh Hoang, Giang Trang will sing Trinh Cong Son’s songs about the beauty of being 20 years old – when most people are inexperienced and naive, with a touch of sadness.
Tickets, priced from VND60,000 to 120,000, are available at L’Espace, 24 Trang Tien Street, Hanoi.
HCMC writers’ assoc. celebrates 10th verse season
The HCM City Writers’ Association will host this year’s poetry day from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday at Nha Rong Wharf, 1 Nguyen Tat Thanh Street in District 4, under the theme ‘The city of ten poetry seasons’.
Organizers said that this year sees not only the tenth anniversary of Vietnam’s poetry day but also the first Asia Pacific Poetry Festival to be held in the northern province of Quang Ninh from Thursday to Saturday.
The official poetry night, whose script is co-written and co-directed by two poets Pham Sy Sau and
Truong Nam Huong, will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday.
A number of poems will be recited by local artists like Truc Chi, Tu Quoc Hoai, and Ho Thi Ca and this year’s event will introduce a number of pieces from Asian versifiers. Around 15 participating verse clubs in the city will erect poetry tents from 9 a.m. and perform their pieces from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. the same day.
In addition, the event features local poets such as Duy Linh, Quynh Nhu, Van Khanh and Hong Oanh.
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