Preserve Phu Tho Xoan Singing to become a world intangible cultural heritage

Xoan singing is a genre of the folk culture of Phu Tho province – Hung Vuong ancestral land. Xoan singing is a kind of folk with rituals – beliefs, customs, which is taken place during the festivals at the village’s communal houses every springs on this ancestral land.

Based on the performing space, Xoan singing is also known as Hat cua dinh (singing at the communal house). According to folk singing, this singing is called Hat Lai Len, as derived from the buffer of Xoan singing: "Len la len hoi la len…”, and that’s the reason the temple in the Phu Duc village is called Lai Len temple – where original Xoan guilds sing together at the beginning of the year before going to perform at other temples.

          Xoan singing is the same as other genres of folk forms, a phenomenon of folklore in general and the folk music in particular of Vietnamese people in the Northern plains and midlands. Xoan singing is a genre of religious-ritual folk, the singing voice of farmers with purpose of worshipping singing for good weather, prosperity and peace.

          Over the evolution of history, from Van Lang nation was established by Hung Kings dynasties, 1000 years of Chinese domination, Vietnam feudal autonomy era, declination of feudalism, French colonial period, American imperialist invader. Xoan singing is still existing and being a unique art: worshipping singing for Hung Kings, his wife and children, generals, symbolized characters in Hung Vuong dynasties; singing in front of the communal house and in springs. The most typical feature of Xoan singing is combining singing and dancing together with drum echoes. In despite of changes of history, Xoan singing present has proved its vitality and adaptability. Xoan ancient villages, communes, districts and especially, 2 People's Committees of Vinh Phuc province and Phu Tho province agreed with a common name: Xoan singing of Phu Tho. Xoan singing of Phu Tho is recognized by UNESCO as a world intangible cultural heritage of humanity need urgent protection in December 24th, 2011.  

          2. Xoan singing - community protection and promotion.

          Bringing Xoan singing of Phu Tho become intangible cultural heritage of humanity in 2016, is the primary goal of the project “Preserving and promoting the value of intangible cultural heritage of humanity need urgent protection – Xoan singing of Phu Tho province (period 2013- 2020)” by Phu Tho People’s Committee, was approved by the Prime Minister with the Decision No. 2508/QD-TTg dated November 7th 2013.

          In recent years, the culture has continued collecting, systematization of recorded materials of Xoan singing in the localities, provincial authorities and central. To investigate, inventory, research Xoan singing in the area of 18 communes of Phu Tho province and Vinh Phuc province.

          Continue to propagade, promote cultural heritage - Xoan singing of Phu Tho on the public media, central and local newspapers and radio. Publication and republication of printed matter such as books about Xoan singing of Phu Tho, website to introduce Xoan singing of Phu Tho.

          Opening classes to teach Xoan singing in Xoan giulds in order to maintain 04 original Xoan giulds, 36 original melodies for over 150 young artists. Establishing 30 Xoan singing clubs in communes, wards and offices, schools in the province; The goal is each commune has 1 club, schools and offices in the province have entertaining team of Xoan singing.

          100 percentage of schools in Viet Tri city have teachers with singing skill and performing Xoan. The textbook of teaching Xoan singing is compiled by the Vocational School of Culture, Arts and Tourism of Phu Tho province.

          Continue organizing the annual Xoan singing village festival, with the participation of 13 districts, city, town and original Xoan singing villages and communes (18 communes in Phu Tho province).

          Collaboration with the Institute of Music to build projects complying with the requirements and realistic conditions; this is an opportunity to promote Xoan singing performances. Performing Xoan singing in Hanoi and other provinces like Dien Bien, Thua Thien Hue, Thanh Hoa, Ninh Binh, Quang Ninh, Lam Dong ... Taking part in the international exchange program of intangible cultural heritage in Thailand and Korea.

          Continue to invest in restoring relics in the province which performed Xoan singing. Community support to invest cultural houses which are performed Xoan singing. Documentations which suggest the Provincial People’s Committee to approve awards and certificates of title "Phu Tho Xoan singing artiste" for 34 senior artists who are currently teaching and practicing Xoan singing in the localities were built. Present certificates of merit awarded by The Provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism for people with skills and achievements in Xoan singing. Completing documents to suggest the President in order to approve the title "Meritorious Artiste" for the qualified artists according to the state’s regulations and title “Folk Artiste” according to regulations of Vietnam folk music association..

          Organizing scientific conferences on issues of conservation and promotion of intangible cultural heritage - Xoan singing in the period of industrialization and modernization. Scientific conference on the issues of adding Xoan singing into tours and tourist destinations. Scientific conference on propaganda promoting Xoan singing, associated with educational institutions to bring Xoan into schools. Systematized materials on Xoan singing and coordination between museum and community in provincial events.

          Having projects of tourism development: bringing Xoan singing into tourism tours, destinations, for instance, communes, districts which have original Xoan singing, associated with ecotourism and spirit tourism... Encouraging people to establish more community organizations and forms of activity: Xoan giuld, team, club.

          Hung Vuong Museum has built photos, artifacts of Xoan singing hall. Provincial library has built directory of "Phu Tho Xoan Singing" and "Worship of Hung Kings" to ease the understanding and research for peoples

          3. Xoan Singing – a world intangible cultural heritage of humanity.

          Xoan singing is not only a product, but also a folklore phenomena characteristic of Hung Vuong ancestral land. Phu Tho people have the notion that: Listening to Xoan singing on the occasion of New Year will bring luck to them. That’s the reason Xoan singing has enduring vitality.

          With a series of results in the period from 2013 to 2015 on restoration, conservation, teaching and practicing, promotion, dissemination, maintenance of historical relics - Xoan singing performing space,... to 2016, Xoan singing will be brought out of the status of emergency protection and becomes Intangible Cultural Heritage of humanity. The result is committed by Phu Tho province to UNESCO, ministries at the central level in order to become the key in the development of tourism, contribute socio-economic development of Phu Tho province.

          At present, with the achieved results, Xoan singing has qualified conditions to propose UNESCO to recognize as intangible cultural heritage representative of humanity in 2016. Managing, preserving and promoting the value of cultural heritage - Xoan singing of Phu Tho depend on the people’s knowledge, awareness and responsibilities to the community. Xoan singing associated with Worship of Hung Kings is a significant factor in the spiritual life of ethnic minorities in Vietnam. /.

P.B.K

© 2014 Department of Foreign Affairs. All rights reserved.

® - Republished informantion of website based on the department’s approval.

Address: No. 2187 - Hung Vương Street - Viet Tri City - Phu Tho Province

Publication Permit No. 07/GPTTDT-STTTT was issued by Phu Tho Department of Information and Communication on July, 3rd 2014.

Mr. Do Ngoc Dung – Director of the Phu Tho Department of Foreign Affairs

Tel: 02103.3843.222 - Fax: 0210.3868.875 - Email: ngoaivuphutho@gmail.com