UNESCO sings praises of Vietnam's musical heritage

11th Dec 2013

UNESCO has given added kudos to Vietnam's fast-emerging holiday destination of new and old contrasts.

The long-established art of Don Ca Tai Tu's music and songs in the south of the country has officially made the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list.

The list aims to ensure improved protection of important cultural heritages worldwide.

The announcement highlights this amateur musical art, which has both scholarly and folk foundations dating back to the late 19th century.

South Vietnamese people deem it an essential spiritual cultural activity and a much respected component of their cultural heritage, performed at festivals, death anniversary rituals, and celebratory social events.

The Vietnamese tourist momentum seems unstoppable at the moment.

Its capital Hanoi recently announced an 11.2% jump in visitors this year.

Visitors on city breaks can either enjoy the hustle-bustle of its metropolis or escape to the perfect retreat for trekking holidays with beautiful Ba Vi National Park on its doorstep.

But Quang Ninh remains probably Vietnam's most popular tourist destination, with multitudes heading for Halong Bay (or Dragon Bay). This helped propel the province's leisure trips to 6 million in the first three-quarters of 2013.

The culture ministry's Cultural Heritage Department said Don Ca Tai Tu had satisfied the criteria to be part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity's representative list.

It has been handed down through the generations via official and unofficial forms of education in all 21 provinces, where the artform is a favourite.

This music genre has been popularised via cultural exchanges among peoples, presenting their mutual harmony and respect.

The artform is played on many instruments, including the kim (moon-shaped lute), co (two-stringed fiddle), tranh (16-string zither), ty ba (pear-shaped lute), song lang (percussion), bau (monochord), sao (bamboo flute), violin and guitar.

Vietnam hopes the accolade will help raise respect, encourage the community to recognise the value of cultural heritage, and to voluntarily take part in practising, developing, transmitting and safeguarding Don Ca Tai Tu.

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