Xoan singing of Phú Thọ province, Viet Nam

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Inscribed in 2017 (12.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

© 2016 by Phú Thọ Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Viet Nam

As a performing art, Xoan singing of Pho Tho province includes singing, dancing, drumming and clapper beating. It is closely linked to the worship of the Hung Kings, a belief rooted in the ancestor worship practice of the Viet people. Bearers and practitioners form four guilds, in which the male and female Trum play the most important role; they preserve the songs, select students, transmit the singing styles and repertoires and organize practices. They are also active in introducing and teaching Xoan singing at the four Xoan guilds, and in clubs and guilds. As a community performing art, Xoan singing fosters cultural understanding, community cohesion and mutual respect. The Vietnamese Institute for Musicology has collected 31 Xoan songs, and thanks to the efforts of several Xoan artists four guilds have been established. 33 dedicated clubs also exist, and seminars are held to expand knowledge of Xoan. Leaders and senior Xoan artists transmit the singing orally, combined with the use of written songs and audio and visual recordings. Experienced artists also teach Xoan singing to members of clubs and to music teachers in schools, who then transmit this knowledge to other club members and students.

On the first day of the Lunar New Year, the An Thái Xoan guild brings offerings to Cẩm Temple to invite the Hung Kings to their village communal house and request permission for organising Spring festival and singing Xoan.
Dressing up before Xoan performance
A Xoan performance by the Xoan artists at Lãi Lèn temple, the place where Xoan was first taught, as the legend says
The Phù Đức Xoan guild's artists performing a ritual song of honouring the Hùng Kings (hát thớ) at Trung temple
Artists of Thét Xoan guild's (Kim Đức commune) performing songs for honouring the Kings (hát thớ)
Children from the An Thà Xoan guild performing a song for honouring the Kings (hát thớ) at Bình Chình village communal house
Performance of ritual songs for honouring the Kings at Bình Chình communal house following the friendship-bonding between An Thái Xoan guild and Cao Mại village
Young female and male artists of Phù Đức Xoan guild performing the first phase songs of honouring the Kings at Trung communal house
A festive songs' performance between An Thái Xoan guild and Cao Mại village
Mr Nguyễn Văn Quyết (b. 1986), leader Kim Đái Xoan guild is teaching how to sing and dance Xoan