Update: 16:53 | 19/01/2020
A one-day event featuring Vietnamese customs for the Lunar New Year will be held on January 25 in Saint Herblain, France, by ART SPACE, a private centre run by Hoang Thu Trang.
Titled “The Quintessence of Vietnam”, the event will include a traditional market offering Vietnamese street food, folk games, and folk and modern music.
The event will welcome Dris Said, deputy mayor of the town, and other officials and headmasters from schools in Nantes and Saint Herblain.
Children practise for the show.
According to Trang, they were expecting to welcome 1,000 people, and a further 600 people at the music concert.
The market will host 30 stalls with traditional food and goods with registered trademarks including Nang ao dai (traditional long dress fashion brand) and Hoa Tram incense.
The market will also feature souvenir shops, folk games, face painting and an exhibition of Vietnamese conical hats.
The concert will gather nearly 100 adults and children of French and Vietnamese origins to perform folk dances, as well as martial arts.
"The highlight of the show will be an excerpt from an opera titled Giai Cuu Nu Than Mat Troi (Rescuing the Sun Goddess) performed by 50 adults and children," Trang told Viet Nam News.
The opera incorporates folk melodies from the Central Highlands and is inspired by the Sun Goddess, she said.
Trang wrote the scripts, while the martial arts performances have been directed by Aziz Abdouss.
Trang said one of the songs was a mixture of Vietnamese folk melodies and French music. The excerpt also features folk and modern dances and Minh Long Vo Dao martial arts.
"This is the first-ever large-scale community event hosted by Vietnamese living in the region," Trang said.
Virginie Fontaine, a French volunteer, said her family had no Vietnamese connections, but a lot of Vietnamese friends.
“My ten-year-old son and eight-year-old daughter like Vietnamese shows hosted by composer Trang," she said. "They've learnt some Vietnamese songs by heart. It’s obvious that music brings people of different nationalities and colours together.”
Trang is the chairperson and initiator of ART SPACE – an association designed to develop and promote education, art and cultural exchanges for children in France
She has been invited to introduce Vietnamese culture in nurseries, primary and junior secondary schools in Saint Herblain.
She is also marketing director of the Polaris Art & Music School in Hanoi. She has published two music albums for children - Trong Khu Vuon (In the Garden) and The Joy of Christmas, as well as other work for adults.
Trang is also the founder of the band Music Rendez-vous, which gathers 70 Vietnamese students from all over France. They have performed 20 concerts in various cities like Nantes, Rennes and Lorient.