Hanoi Initiatives Bridge the Gap Between Traditional Folk Arts and Youth

Hanoi: In a vibrant effort to bring folk art performances closer to the younger generation, numerous organizations in Vietnam are actively introducing traditional art forms in accessible public spaces. This initiative has seen an increased interaction between young people and folk art, especially in Ho Chi Minh City. Here, members of the “Ganh hat luu dien muon phuong” (touring theatre) have showcased 36 types of performing arts and folk festivals from across Vietnam at the city’s Book Street.

According to Vietnam News Agency, “Ganh hat luu dien muon phuong” is a pre-COVID-19 project initially aimed at publishing a bilingual handbook on cultural features and folk arts. This project has now evolved into an art book and performance programs designed to make traditional arts more accessible to the public, particularly young audiences. The initiative includes performances by young Cai luong (reformed opera) artist Ha Nang, who has joined the team. Visitors to the Book Street not only enjoy performances but also engage in activities like coloring pictures of popular performance forms in the South, sparking their curiosity and love for folk arts.

In addition to public spaces, Ha Nang and his team have performed “Don Ca Tai Tu” (southern amateur singing) in schools and coffee shops in Ho Chi Minh City. The group performed its first three programs for free and now charges a nominal fee to sustain long-term operations. Ha Nang expressed his joy in sharing his passion for traditional arts with the younger generation.

Phan Khac Huy, who leads the Community Cultural Dialogue project, shares a similar passion for researching and preserving traditional arts. Born into a literary family in southern Tien Giang province, Huy initially entered the Ho Chi Minh City Medicine and Pharmacy University in 2005 but later left to pursue his true calling in the arts. After successfully popularizing folk arts in the southern region through his “Dien Xuong Nam Bo” (Folk Singing Genre of the Southern Region) series, Huy initiated the “Vang Vong Trong Chau” (Echoing Drum show) project. This initiative aims to educate and inspire a love for traditional arts among youngsters through textbooks, interesting classes, and a library of documents, recordings, and videos featuring various traditional performing arts.

Huy’s textbook set is designed for students from the sixth grade onwards. It allows readers to access information and enjoy arts by scanning QR codes included in the books. Additionally, Huy and his team are developing an online education platform called “Lop Hoc 1 to” (One-dollar class), which will enable young learners to actively acquire knowledge about the socio-cultural, historical, and traditional arts of Vietnam.