people now enjoy new music that comes to them from the radio,
television, audio and video tapes, as well as compact discs. So, do they
still show any attachment to the old folk tunes so loved by their
elders, such as the melodies of ca tru? Ca tru is a musical genre
that calls for expertise as well as sensibility on the part of the
listeners. In return, it provides the most refined enjoyment.
Fortunately, ca tru
is now being restored and is more liked by the younger generation.
Research scholars have traced the origins of ca tru to areas of high
culture, such as the ancient imperial capital of Thang Long (present-day
Hanoi), Ha Tay, etc. Artists of great talent have practiced the art,
including Quach Thi Ho, Thuong Huyen, Kim Dzung, etc. Some of them are
now in their seventies, but a successor generation has blossomed and
holds great promise. |
Ca tru is where poetry and music meet. People familiar with such ancient verse as luc bat (the six eight-syllable distich) and hat doi
(singing tossed back and forth between groups of young men and women),
and who are capable of sympathizing with the sentiments expressed in the
sound of a small drum or a two-string viol, are more likely to fully
enjoy a recital of ca tru.
Many famous poets of past centuries were great amateurs of ca tru
who wrote beautiful lines to go with its melodies. One well known
instance is the poem singing the enchantment of a pilgrimage to Chua
Huong (Perfume Pagoda) by Chu Manh Trinh. Coming from the lips of a ca tru
singer, it has bewitched successive generations of pilgrims visiting
the hills and streams of the famous pagoda complex in Ha Tay Province.
music is most enjoyable when there is complete harmony between the
words being sung, the rhythm marked by a pair of small bamboo sticks
held by the singer who strikes a small block of wood or bamboo called phach, and, last but not least, the appreciation shown by a man among the audience beating a small drum at the appropriate moments.
In short, ca tru
is a refined form of art which is paradoxically appreciated and loved
by audiences of all compositions. There are those who sit in small
numbers in an urban auditorium to enjoy a recital. A Ca Tru Club has been founded in Hanoi where amateurs of this musical genre, young and old, local and foreign, regularly meet to enjoy its charming melodies.
Ca tru singing is inscribed on the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage in need of Urgent Safeguarding on 1st October 2009.