Cheo singing echoes in rural villages

Update: 08:44 | 01/07/2019

(BGO) - Cheo (Vietnamese traditional opera) singing is a traditional art activity which has been present in Yen Dung land of Bac Giang province from ancient times. Over the past years, the district has paid due attention to preserving and promoting this type of art, thereby contributing to improving the cultural and spiritual lives for the people.

Despite the “hot as Hades” June weather, figurants in Yen Lu commune were still passionately performing at the communal Cheo and folk song singing competition. This year, the contest attracted 18 teams, with hundreds of actors and actresses who performed a total of 70 items. 

Tran Thi Thu Huong, a commune cultural official and a member of the Organising Board, said: “Most of the performances by the teams are Cheo singing. That shows the vitality of Cheo in the villages”.

Cheo singing, rural villages, Bac Giang province, Vietnamese traditional opera, traditional art, cultural and spiritual lives

Members of the Cheo club in Bac Am village, Tu Mai commune.

Not far away, at the hall of Tu Mai commune, the veteran actors and actresses of the Bac Giang Cheo Theater were enthusiastically teaching Cheo and folk songs for the artistic nuclei of the commune. 

The atmosphere of the village was more bustling than usual because of the sounds of drums and tones imbued with traditional cultural identities. This was an activity in the coordination programme between the district Center for Culture, Information and Sports and the Bac Giang Cheo Theater to restore and promote the art of Cheo in the district.

In addition to teaching, in the past years, the district has also paid attention to supporting a number of Cheo clubs in terms of training expenses and purchase of musical instruments and performance costumes. Every two years, the district organizes the Cheo and folk song singing competition from the grassroots to district levels, through which good performances and excellent plays are selected to participate in the provincial-level competition. 

In particular, to spread the Cheo singing movement, the district's specialized units have also coordinated with localities to select and build role models who serve as the core for the movement. 

These include talented and enthusiastic public figurants such as Nguyen Van Phan from Xuan Phu commune; Nguyen Van Them from the district Cheo club; Luu Van Khoi, Luu Thi Cuc from Tan Ninh village, Tu Mai commune... They are the people who keep the rhythm of Cheo and pass the fire of passion for this art form in Yen Dung during the past years.

Ta Hai Nam, Deputy Director of the district Center for Culture, Information and Sports, shared: “Thanks to that way, the traditional Cheo art in Yen Dung not only is preserved but also has its good traditional value promoted in the cultural and spiritual lives of the people”.

The district has maintained the operation of five clubs established by the center, and successfully restored six traditional Cheo villages in the communes of Xuan Phu, Tu Mai, Tan Lieu and Dong Phuc. In addition, most communes and townships have at least one Cheo club which regularly practices and performs to serve the people. 

For example, the Cheo club of Xuan Phu commune’s elderly holds a training session on Sunday afternoon every week, and from 15 to 20 exchanges and performances each year. Or the Cheo club of Bac Am village, Tu Mai commune, in addition to the goal of learning to sing two to three new songs each year, teaches the art form for young generations. 

Every two years, the Cheo and folk song singing competition is held by the district from the commune level to district level. On that basis, good performances and excellent excerpts are selected to participate in the provincial stage festival," said Ta Hai Nam, Deputy Director of the Yen Dung district Center for Culture, Information and Sports.

Thanks to that, the club now gathers a contingent of 10 child actors and actresses, of whom Nguy Ton Phong (13 years old) is considered a potential Cheo voice. With a large and enthusiastic force, together with re-playing the classic excerpts such as "Quan Am Thi Kinh", "Luu Binh - Duong Le" and "Xuy Van", the club also composed many new, interesting short plays and excerpts such as: "Cam bay phan son (Lipstick trap )", which won the A prize at the provincial amateur stage festival; "Hoi lang (Village Festival)"; "Tien anh len duong (See off you to start away)"; and "Trang thu nho Bac (Missing Uncle Ho in the autumn moon)".

Visiting the Bac Am Cheo Club, although there were no drums, the members of the club still enthusiastically sang for me some ancient Cheo songs. In addition, the amateur actors and actresses: Thanh Cung, Hong Them, Thuy Anh and Pham Huong also set my phone ringtones in smooth and inspiring Cheo. So, we can see how do people here love and have a passion for Cheo singing.

Thanks to the interest in conservation, the traditional Cheo art in Yen Dung has become more and more pervasive, bringing joy to the people.

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Quoc Truong

 
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