4.COM 14.12

The Committee,

  1. Takes note that Viet Nam has nominated Ca trù singing for inscription on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding, described as follows:

Ca trù is a complex form of sung poetry found in the north of Viet Nam using lyrics written in traditional Vietnamese poetic forms. Ca trù groups comprise three performers: a female singer who uses breathing techniques and vibrato to create unique ornamented vocal sounds, while playing the clappers or striking a wooden box, and two instrumentalists who produce the deep tone of a three-stringed lute and the strong sounds of a praise drum. Some Ca trù performances also include dance. The varied forms of Ca trù fulfil different social purposes, including worship singing, singing for entertainment, singing in royal palaces and competitive singing. Ca trù has fifty-six different musical forms or melodies, each of which is called thể cách. Folk artists transmit the music and poems that comprise Ca trù pieces by oral and technical transmission, formerly, within their family line, but now to any who wish to learn. Ongoing wars and insufficient awareness caused Ca trù to fall into disuse during the twentieth century. Although the artists have made great efforts to transmit the old repertoire to younger generations, Ca trù is still under threat due to the diminishing number and increasing age of practitioners.

  1. Decides that, from the information provided in Nomination File 00309, Ca trù singing satisfies the criteria for inscription on the Urgent Safeguarding List, as follows:

U.1:   Ca trù singing embodies a range of musical and dance practices, as well as expertise and knowledge of poetry, constituting an identity marker of Vietnamese communities that is transmitted today by musicians and devotees dedicated to performing, teaching and developing the tradition;

U.2:   Ca trù has seen a revival of interest in recent years, creating an important base for developing a sustainable Ca trù culture in a modern context, yet the element’s viability is still at risk due to the small number of musicians with sufficient competence, knowledge and skill to perform and teach Ca trù, a lack of financial resources necessary to sustain and develop the form, the loss of traditional performing places, and rapid processes of economic, social and cultural change;

U.3:   The proposed safeguarding measures are coherent and wide-ranging, supported by an ambitious and well-funded plan to safeguard Ca trù that can be expected to have a significant impact on the sustainability of the practice and transmission of Ca trù singing, while relying on the deep knowledge still existing in the participating communities;

U.4:   The element has been nominated with the free, prior and informed consent of communities, groups of musicians, their families, Ca trù clubs, and with the support of relevant Government departments, while the inscription and the proposed safeguarding measures will pay adequate respect for the customary practices and rules concerning various rituals, local beliefs and associated family matters;

U.5:   Ca trù singing is included in the inventory of Vietnamese musical heritage and performing arts held by the Vietnamese Institute for Musicology within the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

  1. Inscribes Ca trù singing on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding;
  2. Commends the State Party for having activated resources and promoted Ca trù among the younger generation, encouraging musicians and presenting organizations to identify talented students with a view to ensuring the continued viability of Ca trù singing;
  3. Recommends that the State Party include younger artists and learners alongside elderly artists and teachers in its proposed measures aiming at providing financial incentives for Ca trù musicians;
  4. Underlines the importance of education programmes to raise awareness of the poetry used as Ca trù song texts as well as Ca trù musical forms and aesthetics; and emphasizes that the improvisatory techniques that are central to Ca trù performance should be the focus of transmission efforts;
  5. Further recommends that the audiovisual safeguarding, inventory and systematization of documents on Ca trù singing be done in line with appropriate standards of audiovisual preservation and access;
  6. While acknowledging the importance of restoring customary performance venues, encourages the State Party to focus its safeguarding efforts primarily on investing in human resources;
  7. Further encourages the State Party to ensure that the proposed safeguarding measures continue to be implemented with a high degree of co-ordination between governmental departments, cultural organizations and communities, groups and individuals with expertise and knowledge of Ca trù

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