Love duets festival strikes a chord
The annual love duet festival was kicked off in the northen province of Bac Ninh. Old-fashioned singing performances will be held at temples and communal houses and on floating boats along with many different activities in such villages as Lung Giang, Lung Son, Due Dong, Dinh Ca and Lo Bao. — VNA/VNS Photo Quoc Khanh
BAC NINH (VNS)— The rain that had been drizzling constantly for the past few days suddenly disappeared from the sky – just in time for the northern province’s annual love duet festival.
This year, the organisers set up four tents on Lim Hill so that couples could perform love duets, or quan ho, surrounded by audiences. Unlike last year, there were no amplifiers used so the performances could be as authentic as possible.
“Attending this year’s festival, I felt relaxed for the first time in more than fifty years,” said singer Nguyen Nang Dich from Lung Giang Village in Lim Town.
“If the festival continues using no amplifiers, youth will realise the real value of the art and become more aware of the importance of preserving it.”
According to Nguyen Quoc Tuan, one of the festival organisers, another change this year was that performers were encouraged not to receive tips from the audience. Instead, the organising board paid performers.
Performances were also organised at temples and communal houses and on floating boats in such villages as Lung Giang, Lung Son, Due Dong, Dinh Ca and Lo Bao. Old-fashioned night singing performances at artisans’homes lasted from 10pm until early morning in Lung Giang and Due Dong villages.
“We have hosted the night performances since 1976,” said artisan Do Van Chien, whose house in Lung Giang Commune is familiar to many quan ho lovers.
Dang Dung, a fan of the art from neighbouring Bac Giang Province, said that the night performances gathered experienced singers to perform difficult and rare melodies that one would not hear sung by young artists at more popular music shows.
“These performances reveal how passionate people are about quan ho, which is why the art form has endured so long,” he said.
Yesterday, a solemn procession honoured General Nguyen Dinh Dien, who established the singing festival at the end of the 18th century.
Around the edges of Lim Hill, folk games like bamboo swinging, human chess and blind man’s buff attracted both locals and tourists.
The festival, which ends today, is held annually on the 13th day of the first lunar month. Quan ho is a special folk tradition of the Kinh Bac Region, which is now called Bac Ninh Province.
Originally, the songs are performed in alternating verses between two women from one village who sing in harmony and two men from another village who respond with similar melodies, but with different lyrics.
Quan ho was inscribed in the UNESCO’s representative list of intangible cultural heritages of humanity in 2009. — VNS