Ca trù singing


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Inscribed in 2009 (4.COM) on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding

© 2008 Vietnamese Institute for Musicology, Hanoi, Vietnam

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 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 fulfill 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 of being lost due to the diminishing number and age of practitioners.

Periodic reporting

Report on the status of an element inscribed on the list of intangible cultural heritage in need of urgent safeguarding

Cover sheet

State Party

Name of State Party

Viet Nam

Date of deposit of the instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession

This information is available online.

Date of deposit of the instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession


Element inscribed on the Urgent Safeguarding List that is the subject of this report

Name of element

Ca trù singing

Inscribed in


Reporting period covered by this report

Please indicate the period covered by this report.

Reporting period covered by this report

10-2009 -

Other elements inscribed on the Urgent Safeguarding List, if any

Please list all other elements from your country inscribed on the Urgent Safeguarding List, together with the year of inscription; for multinational elements, please indicate the other States concerned.

Executive summary of the report

Please provide an executive summary of the report that will allow general readers to understand the current status of the element, any positive or negative impacts of inscription, the implementation of safeguarding measures during the reporting period and their possible update for the following years.

Executive summary of the report

The inscription of Ca trù singing (hereby referred to as Ca trù) on the Urgent Safeguarding List has raised the awareness of the whole society on the values and significance of the element and of its safeguarding. A number of safeguarding measures have been implemented in order to help revive the element and to bring it out of the urgent need for safeguarding. Specific measures include:
• Amending the Law on Cultural Heritage (2009) and circulating sub-law legal documents, including the Circular on preparation of intangible cultural heritage inventory and nomination for the National intangible cultural heritage List.
• Drafting of the Decree on the recognition of “People’s Master Artist” and “Excellent Master Artist” titles for intangible cultural heritage bearers and related incentive policies for intangible cultural heritage artists and artisans, including those of Ca trù.
• Inventorying, updating information on the viability of Ca trù and inscription of Ca trù into the National intangible cultural heritage List (first round in 2012) for safeguarding at national level.
• Promoting Ca trù on mass media channels, thus more people are aware of and appreciate Ca trù.
• Organizing Ca trù festivals at various scopes and levels: National Ca trù events in 2011 and 2012 attracted a large number of artists from Ca trù clubs of 15 provinces across the country. A festival of Ca trù was organized in Hải Dương province and a number of other regular indoor and outdoor events and performances open freely to public in Hà Nội, so on.
• Ca trù artists and clubs have been being supported with their teaching activities. The Association of Vietnamese Folklorists has already awarded "Folk Master Artist" (or Nghệ nhân dân gian in Vietnamese) title for Ca trù artists in Bắc Ninh and Hải Dương provinces. Many new Ca trù clubs have been established in Bắc Giang province.
• The Action Plans for the Safeguarding of Ca trù for 2010-2020 in Hải Dương and Hà Tĩnh provinces have been adopted and being implemented. A plan of protection and promotion of Ca trù has been integrated into the Project on Preservation and Promotion of Ethnic Cultural Heritage in 2011 – 2020 in Bắc Giang province.
• Ca trù has been introduced to a wider community of domestic and internernational audience. Up to now, there are over 60 active Ca trù clubs. They organise regular activities, performances, and exchanges of activities and artists among themselves for the maintenance and transmission of this valuable intangible cultural heritage element. In addition, a number of schools introduce Ca trù in their regular curiculum for students.
In sum, with joint effort of various governmental management and professional agencies, together with active participation of communities, many of the objectives of safeguarding and promoting of the values of Ca trù have gained significant achievement: through different means and forms of dissemination and promotion, including organization of Ca trù festivals at all levels and collaboration with tourism sector to introduce and bring the element to tourists inside and outside of Vietnam. Consequently, communities and the wider society understand better the values and meaning of Ca tru; various old melodies and dances of Ca tru have been revived. Bigger number of people and groups in the communities have access to and practice Ca trù on regular basis.
However, the safeguarding of Ca trù still faces a number of challenges due to the fact that many among the master artists, who can transmit Ca tru are reaching their old age; local officials are limited in knowledge of traditional music and lack of ICH management experiences; lack of budget and favarable conditions for Ca tru practices at various Ca tru clubs.

Contact person for correspondence

Provide the name, address and other contact information of the person responsible for correspondence concerning the report.

Title (Ms/Mr, etc.)


Family name

Nguyen The

Given name



Department of Cultural Heritage (DCH)/Director


51 Ngo Quyen Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hà Nội, Viet Nam.

Telephone number

(84-four) 39436131 or (84) 913510142

Fax number

(84-four) 39439929

E-mail address

Other relevant information

Alternative contact: Ms. Nguyen Thi Thu Trang, Vice Head of ICH Management Division, DCH. Email:; Tel.: (84-four) 39438025 or (84) 904346000.

B. Status of element inscribed on the Urgent Safeguarding List

Refer to the nomination file or to previous reports, if any, as the basis for reporting on the current status of the element, and report only on relevant changes since the date of inscription on the List or since the previous report. Nomination files, specific timetables and earlier reports, if any, are available at or from the Secretariat, upon request.

The State Party shall pay special attention to the role of gender and shall endeavour to ensure the widest possible participation of the communities, groups and, where applicable, individuals concerned as well as relevant non-governmental organizations during the process of preparing this report, and is asked to describe how it has done so in point D below.


Social and cultural functions

Please explain the social and cultural functions and meanings of the element today, within and for its community, the characteristics of the bearers and practitioners, and any specific roles or categories of persons with special responsibilities towards the element, among others. Attention should be given to any relevant changes related to inscription criterion U.1 (‘the element constitutes intangible cultural heritage as defined in Article 2 of the Convention’).

Social and cultural functions

Ca trù is a traditional art form with unique importance in the Vietnamese society. It holds significance in many rituals, belief practices, literature and other traditions that embodied the spiritual and philosophical system of the Viet people. Recital melody (hát nói) is unique form of traditional Vietnamese poetry that was born out of Ca trù and for centuries, held pertinent position in Vietnamese literature genre of logographic script (chữ Nôm).
Initially, Ca trù was often performed in village communal space during ceremonies worshipping the village tutelary god. Later on, it was performed in royal palaces and at private houses, in “singing bars” (ca quán) and at singing competitions (known as hát thi). Ca trù became a fully developed music genre in the 15th century.
The various forms of Ca trù is performed in two types of ocasions according to their cultural and social functions:
- Religious function: religious singing at worship locations such as temples, pantheons, and ancetral houses. These ceremonies acted as social practices and hence, there are also other important ceremonial instruments such as gong (cồng) and main drum (trống cái).
- Artistic function: singing ocations organised at private houses or at pantheons for entertainment purposes such as birthdays, weddings, etc. Besides, there are also performances organised at private functions for Ca trù admirers and those who were curious about the art as well as for tourists.
Hát thi (competitive singing) and hát chơi (singing for entertainment) performances are going through many changes in term of forms and functions. In the past, competitive Ca trù singing only took place in specific festivals. Nowadays, they are organised in various forms and occasions, mostly through local Ca trù festivals organised by national and provincial cultural management agencies and professional associations at various levels (communal, district, provincial, regional or national) with the participation of Ca trù groups and clubs from all around the country.
Only performed on stage today, hát chơi has become a pure performing art rather than a daily entertainment for the aesthetic enjoyment of upper and middle classes as it did in the past. The quan viên cầm chầu, or praise drummer, is no longer part of the participating audience. In addition, Ca trù clubs organise regular activities periodically. Some clubs, such as Thăng Long Ca trù Guild, Thái Hà Ca trù Club, etc. not only organise activities for their members but also carry out regular performances for the wider audience or upon request, collecting entrance fee in order to cover part of the club's activities. In these cases, the guild leader or head of the club plays an important role in maintaining Ca trù practices.
Furthermore, Ca trù has also been performed on stage to introduce and to promote the art form widely to the public at home and abroad.


Assessment of its viability and current risks

Please describe the current level of viability of the element, particularly the frequency and extent of its practice, the strength of traditional modes of transmission, the demographics of practitioners and audiences and its sustainability. Please also identify and describe the threats, if any, to the element's continued transmission and enactment and describe the severity and immediacy of such threats, giving particular attention to any strengthening or weakening of the element’s viability subsequent to inscription.

Assessment of its viability and current risks

Although Ca trù is no longer performed regularly and widely as in the past, its viability is maintained among its own bearers and in the wider society.
Since UNESCO’s recognition, the number of active Ca trù clubs has increased from 20 at the time of the nomination file submission to 60 at the present with a growing number of participants. Until now, there are 23 Ca trù master artists and nearly 500 people who can sing Ca trù. Provinces such as Hải Dương, Nghệ An, Hà Tĩnh, Bắc Giang, Hưng Yên have issued incentivised policies to Ca trù practitioners and master artists.
Government agencies, local communities and clubs often organise transmission activities with the participation of master artists for children and community members. Traditional teaching methods are maintained in combination with Western notation method, aided by audio and visual tools for self-teaching and learning that allows Ca trù to reach wider audience.
A significant body of knowledge on traditional forms of Ca trù has been collected and revived. Traditional performing spaces have been restored. Master artisits recieved recognition. These are all indicators of increased awareness and appreciation for Ca trù.
Challenges faced by Ca trù include:
- Decreasing number of artists who can transmit the art of Ca tru. Among 23 master artists, 17 are already in old ages. In April 2014, artist Nguyễn Thị Chúc passed away. Only a small number of individuals and family lines still carry out this practice. Recently, there have been a number of accelerated courses to equip young artists with the basics of Ca trù for commercial performances. However, safeguarding effort has been focusing too much on quantitative objectives rather than quality. Ca trù has not been formally introduced as a specialisation in music and art institutions.
- Diminising in the diversity of performing styles. The limited number of capable artists and performing groups leads to a gradual homogenisation of Ca trù performing style towards the dominant Hà Nội style.
- Many Ca trù clubs, most of those were established on voluntary and self-financed basis, struggle to maintain their operation. Hà Nội had 15 Ca trù clubs in 2009 yet only 11 remain in 2013. To make ends meet, some practitioners had to give up their career in Ca trù to seek other jobs. Some clubs have to adopt more popular music, such as quan họ , besides Ca trù.
- There is little interest in the wider society in Ca trù for its complicated lyrics, the use of Sino-Vietnamese (Hán Việt) and its distinct musical forms or melodies (thể cách). Few remaining quan viên, or praise drummers, from the audience who can participate in the performance. Majority of young generation have little interest in this art form.


Implementation of safeguarding measures

Please report on the safeguarding measures described in the nomination file, and previous report, if any. Describe how they have been implemented and how they have substantially contributed to the safeguarding of the element during the reporting period, taking note of external or internal constraints such as limited resources. Include, in particular, information on the measures taken to ensure the viability of the element by enabling the community to continue to practise and transmit it. Include the following detailed information concerning the implementation of the set of safeguarding measures or safeguarding plan:


Objectives and results

Indicate what primary objective(s) were addressed and what concrete results were attained during the reporting period.

Objectives and results

After Ca trù was inscribed on the UNESCO List, Viet Nam has set the overarching goal of reviving the art form and lifting it off the status of urgent safeguarding. Specific objectives include:
1. To raise awareness of communities and of the whole society about the values and importance of the safeguarding of Ca trù;
2. To revive old repertoires and to maintain the practice of Ca trù among communities;
3. To enhance the values of Ca trù in social and spiritual life of Viet Nam through Ca trù festivals and performances; and
4. To promote tourism in sustainable development.
After four years of implementation of the above objectives through specific safeguarding activities and projects, Ca trù has gradually been revived. Specific achievements include:
- The 2012 inventory result in 10 out of 15 provinces indicates there were 62 Ca trù clubs, 17 masters and 23 artists, and 493 practitioners.
- Two melodies, dedicated to the worship of Ca trù patriarchs, were collected in Hải Dương Province.
- Some clubs such as Hà Nội Ca trù Club, Thăng Long Ca trù Guild have established clear direction with regular activities, organizing performances with ticket sale to maintain stable operation, attracting young audience and becoming familiar venues for tourists in Hà Nội, and touring performances domestically and internationally.


Safeguarding activities

List the key activities that were carried out during this reporting period in order to achieve these expected results. Please describe the activities in detail and note their effectiveness or any problems encountered in implementing them.

Safeguarding activities

- Increasing awareness of the communities and of the whole society on the values and significance of the safeguarding of Ca trù.
Inventorying and documentation of Ca trù were strengthened. The awareness of artists, practitioners and the communities on the safeguarding of the element was enhanced through their participation in inventory activities. The gained knowledge on Ca trù values increased the sense of pride and appreciation among communities. Particular results achieved include: documentation and inventory of traditional melodies, dance, instruments, books and other materials, objects relating to Ca trù; identifying artists, updating information and data on Ca trù in the cultural heritage database of the Institute of Musicology, Provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Hải Dương, Nghệ An…
For the revitalisation of values and cultural functions of Ca trù, the responsible authorities and government agences have conducted research, dissemination and promotion activities inside and outside the country. Scientific conferences, studies, and researches have been implemented (Institute of Musicology, Quảng Bình province). Materials on Ca trù have been widely disseminated including: translation of Hán Nôm (Sino-Vietnamese) materials on Ca trù, DVD “Ca trù – a cultural heritage of Viet Nam”, Book “Ca trù Hà Nội in the past and the present” (2010) by Nguyễn Đức Mậu, “Ca trù Hải Dương” (2010), Documentary “Ca trù – the soul of Viet Nam” (2010), documentary CD “Ca trù in Hải Dương province” (2012) and “Ca trù clubs of Hải Dương” (2012).
Supported Ca trù clubs with their regular activities and stable operation, supported domestic and international research projects on Ca trù. Clubs receive not only domestic audience but also tourists and listeners from abroad, which indicates the increased interest in this art form, providing motivation and incentives for artists and practitioners to continue their work. There have been exchanges and performaces to promote Ca trù widely in Vietnam and abroad such as: series of performances and explaination of Ca trù organised for college and university students, for people living in Mỹ Đình and Cầu Giấy districts (Hà Nội) in 2012; performing troupes from Thái Hà Ca trù Club (Hà Nội), Hà Nội Ca trù Club, Tứ Kỳ Ca trù Club (Hải Dương) performed in Shanghai (China) at the 42th International Conference of the International Council for Traditional Music (ICTM) in 2013; singers from Thăng Long Ca trù Guild were invited to teach Ca trù at a university in Taiwan and to introduce Ca trù to university students of Cleveland, Ohio, USA in 2013, Ca trù performances organised in France, Australia, Korea, Thailand, etc.
- Revitalisation of old Ca trù repertoires and maintaining its viability in the communities
Through studies and collections of various govenrment agencies, clubs, and individuals, many traditional songs and melodies have been revitalised such as bài bông (disposing flowers) song and dance by master artist Phó Thị Kim Đức, the full performance of Hát Cửa đình (singing at the village’s communal house) with the full set of instruments and old melodies and dances (by Thăng Long Ca trù Guild). Besides these traditional repertoires, some Ca trù clubs have reintroduced the art to its orginal performing spaces at village communal houses, in traditional worshiping spaces.
Government agencies at all levels have provided support to Ca trù clubs to revitalise and transmit Ca trù to community members including: organising transmission classes taught by master artists in Hưng Yên, Hải Dương, Hà Nội, Quảng Bình, Bắc Ninh, Thái Bình, Bắc Giang, Phú Thọ, Vĩnh Phúc…; providing print and audio-visual materials on Ca trù as references for the revitalisation of the Hát Cửa đình (Hải Dương); compiling and choreographing traditional repertoires such as Bài bông and Tứ linh dances (Hà Nội). Besides regular practice and performaces, Ca trù clubs also organise transmission classes to other clubs. For example Thái Hà Ca trù Club shared and taught its 5 special melodies to 20 other clubs around the country.
Collaboration between government authorities and communities and groups who are traditional bearers to introduce Ca trù in schools (Nghệ An and Thanh Hóa provinces), organising classes of Ca trù and integrating Ca trù in the curriculum of art and cultural institutions in the provinces (Hải Dương and Hưng Yên);
- Promotion of the values of Ca trù in the spiritual and social life of communities through festivals and performances
In 2011, Institute of Musicology organised a National Ca trù Festival with participation of 23 troups from 14 provinces/cities. The festival showcased traditional repertoires in their original performing spaces such as: Hát Cửa đình, Hát Cửa quyền, Hát Chơi và Hát Thi. There are also regular Ca trù festivals at provincial, city, and district levels as well as performances by Ca trù clubs (Hà Nội, Hải Dương, Nghệ An, Hà Tĩnh…).
The Institute of Musicology will organise the Second National Ca trù Festival in August 2014.
Ca trù festivals and Ca trù clubs’ practice and performances all indicate the viability and reach of Ca trù to the audience and to a broader society. Through these activities, many old melodies in danger of disappearing such as Hát thờ, Hát cửa đình, Hát cửa quyền, Hát Ca quán have been inventorised and safeguarded. Ca trù groups are also encouraged to be creative and to strengthen their capacity. For instance, Hồ Chí Minh city collaborated with Phú Thọ province to organise a writing workshop to create new rylics for old melodies.
- Promotion of tourism for sustainable development
Some Ca trù clubs have regular performances for both domestic and international audience, many among those are tourists (such as Hà Nội Ca trù Club, Thăng Long Ca trù Guild, Thái Hà Ca trù Club in Hà Nội). Particularly, Thái Hà Ca trù Club with its 7 generations of Ca trù practitioners and artists have attrached a large amount of audience.
Restoration of heritage sites relating to Ca trù was conducted in Phú Thọ, Bắc Ninh, Hà Tĩnh, Thái Bình. These sites served as venues for heritage practitioners, tourists and Ca trù admirers to learn, enjoy, and understand better about this art form.


Participation of communities, groups or individuals in the safeguarding activities

Describe how communities, groups or, if appropriate, individuals as well as relevant non-governmental organizations have effectively participated, including in terms of gender roles, in the safeguarding measures. Describe the role of the implementing organization or body (name, background, etc.) and the human resources that were available for implementing safeguarding activities.

Participation of communities, groups or individuals in the safeguarding activities

- Ca trù clubs remain regular activities, practice, performance and participate actively in specialised events as well as entertainment programmes during holiday seasons. Club members contribute financially on voluntary basis for club operation. Clubs also receive financial support from local and national government agencies and private companies. The Vietnamese Institute of Musicology provided funding for transmission class for three clubs in Hưng Yên, while the Department of Performing Arts (Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism), together with individuals and businesses in and outside the province donated musical instruments and costumes. In Hà Tĩnh, the Society and Family Newspaper, Minerals and Trade Corporation of Hà Tĩnh and a number of individuals in the area provided funding to Ca trù clubs in the province.
- Master artists are often invited to teach the next generation of practitioners in Ca trù clubs. Most of these transmission courses are provided for free. Many individuals have had significant contribution to the transmission, safeguarding, and promotion of Ca trù such as Mr. Nguyễn Nghĩa Nguyên for establishing a Ca trù club (passed away in 2011), Mr. Trần Hải (passed away in 2012) for teaching đàn đáy (the three-stringed lute) for 10 years from 2001 to 2011, Mr. Nguyễn Quang Phiệt for establishing and maintaining a club from 2006 to 2011, Mr. Cao Xuân Thưởng for composing songs and mentoring club activities with his extensive knowledge of Ca trù, singers Cao Thị Bích Lâm and Nguyễn Thị Mai for teaching many songs to young students, instrumentalist Nguyễn Đình Phúc and drummer Nguyễn Minh Tiến for their significant contribution to transmission activities, and so on.
Hà Nội Ca trù Club has 18 practitioners and master artists, 12 of whom are able to participate in transmission activities. Every Thursday and Sunday afternoon, the club provides free classes to ten students at the residence of master artists. Thái Hà Ca trù Club currently has 13 members, among whom three master artists are capable of teaching. The club has organised transmission courses to other Ca trù clubs all around the country since 2002. These classes, often with six students, are organised on a regular basis, every Sunday afternoon at the artists’ residence. The club also has three foreign students from England, France, and the United States of America, who are also working on their master theses on Ca trù. Thăng Long Ca trù Guild currently has 14 members including three master artists, two among whom can teach singing, playing the lute, and drumming. After several years of teaching and performing free of charge, the club has now introduced a ticketed regular performance schedule for visitors, three times per week, with the audience interaction and English translation, thus becoming a favourable venue for tourists in Ha Noi.
- A number of clubs also promote their activities on the Internet such as Thăng Long Ca trù club’s website or a Facebook page of Hà Nội Ca trù Club:


Timetable and budget

Indicate in a timetable when each activity was implemented and the funds that were used for its implementation, identifying the source of funding for each (governmental sources, in-kind community inputs, etc.).

Timetable and budget

The safeguarding activities were carried out as follows::
Activities Institutions Period Budget
Annual conferences on Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage Vietnamese Institute of Musicology 2010-2012 259,700,000
National Ca trù Festival 2011 590,650,000
Transmission classes for Ca trù practitioners 2012 244,000,000
Ca trù introductory classes in Hưng Yên province 2012 150,000,000
Ca trù introductory classes in Hải Dương province 2013 235,000,000
Publications and promotional materials 96,000,000
Public sessions on introduction and promotion of Ca trù 2012 40,000,000
Research project on “Ca trù in different performing contexts” 2012 15,000,000
Publication of the book “Ca trù in the past and at present” Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Hà Tĩnh province 2012 20.000.000
The first Cổ Đạm Ca trù Festival in Nghi Xuân District 2009 20.000.000
Supported activities of Ca trù clubs Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Hà Tĩnh province and supported sources 2009-2012 130.000.000
Supported artists in transmission activities Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Hà Tĩnh province 2009-2012 120.000.000
Supported artists to attend the National Ca trù Festivals 100.000.000
Published the book “Ca trù – volume II” Supported source in Hà Tĩnh province 2013 30.000.000
- Beside the above indicated budget, other provinces and cities where Ca trù is practiced also allocated part of their state budget to inventory activities, restoration of heritage sites, transmission and promotion activities, etc. However, specific amount is not available at the time of this report.
- Ca trù clubs often operate based on membership contribution and support from individuals and organisations with interests on Ca trù and from performance fees.
Particularly, Thăng Long Ca trù Guild (Hà Nội) has successfully raised funding from various sources including state and private organisations and individuals, such as the Norwegian Music Information Centre - MIC (2012). As a result, Meet Viet Nam awarded ten annual Odon Vallet scholarships for young singers. Hà Nội Old Quarter Management Board has committed to facilitate the performing venue for the club from 2010 to 2015. FPT University funded two scholarships for English learning from 2010 to 2011. The company 3inetworks supported the club in developing a website (2008-2011). The Vietnamese Culture Preservation Company funded 10 scholarships for learning Han Script (2008), and so on.
Giáo Phòng Ca trù Club, Đào Đặng Ca trù Club (Hưng Yên) received support from individuals and businesses in and outside the province, including instruments and sound system. Contribution from members of Đào Đặng Ca trù Club makes up funding of VND 38,000,000.
In February 2014, Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Ha Noi supported 5 sets of musical instruments for 5 Ca tru Clubs including: Ha Noi Ca tru Club, Thai Ha Ca trù Club, Thăng Long Ca trù Guild, Lỗ Khê Ca trù Club and Chanh Thôn Ca trù Club.


Overall effectiveness of the safeguarding activities

Provide an overall assessment of the effectiveness of the activities undertaken to achieve the expected results and of the efficiency of the use of funds for implementing the activities. Please indicate how the activities contributed to achieving the results and whether other activities could have contributed better to achieving the same results. Also indicate whether the same results could have been achieved with less funding, whether the human resources available were appropriate and whether communities, groups and individuals could have been better involved.

Overall effectiveness of the safeguarding activities

In the past four years, the safeguarding of Ca trù Singing has significantly progressed despite limited funding and human resource. Specific achievements include:
- Inventory:
Central management agencies, local communities, and individual practitioners have regularly updated the inventory on the status of the element, improved management capacity and raised awareness on the safeguarding and promotion of its values. The information and data acquired from such inventory provided directions to the safeguarding of the element at local and national levels.
- Transmission activities:
With the government support, many transmission classes have been organised within the local communities with direct participation of master artists in teaching, helping to increase the number of Ca trù practitioners and thus contributing to the preservation and promotion of the element. Robust efforts in transmission in 2012 have helped building a strong following generation of tradition bearers and practitioners in each province. Despite the limited budget for transmission activities, these efforts reflect a serious consideration of the government towards the heritage and its bearers, encouraging heritage practitioners to safeguard and transmit their knowledge and skills to future generations. More people have expressed interest in the art, enabling clubs to operate effectively.
- Promotion activities:
After its inscription on UNESCO List, many promotional activities for the element have been carried out with the aim to raise awareness of the society on the need for its safeguarding and transmission. Ca trù festivals were organised at national, provincial, and local levels with limitted budget but many exchange activities between clubs provided opportunities for practice, performance and encouraged the revitalisation and protection of Ca trù in various localities, increased the awareness and behavior of communities towards their heritage and its diverse performing spaces.
- Supporting artists:
In several provinces, master artists received daily allowance and teaching salary from the government (DoCST), allowing adequate time commitment in transmitting the element to future generations and directly implementing safeguarding and promotion activities. However, the budget for this activity is restricted.
- Safeguarding projects and programs at local level have achieved a number of positive results towards the safeguarding and promotion of Ca trù values.

B.4. Community participation

Please describe how communities, groups and individuals, as well as relevant non-governmental organizations have been involved, including in terms of gender roles, in updating the safeguarding plan, and how they will be involved in its implementation.

Community participation

Communities and individuals, Ca trù artists have been in close collaboration with management agencies to implement safeguarding activities to protect the heritage element including annual inventory, transmission classes, exchange performances between Ca trù clubs in and around the country, and participation in national Ca trù festivals. Heritage communities and practitioners have provided information and data for the annual inventory and reports at national level.
They have not only participated in an array of activities organised by the government, but also actively initiate their own actions with remarkable achievements such as establishment of Ca trù clubs, expanding practice opportunities for club members, encouraging and attracting wider participation of the younger generation in safeguarding efforts. However, due to shortage in funding sources, these activities and efforts are either not stable or systematic. Below are some exemplary efforts.
- Hải Dương Province has five Ca trù clubs. In the past four years, these clubs received a consistent increase in number of members. Each club has different venue and schedule, yet they all maintain regular activities and have been successful in transmission and promotion of Ca trù among their members and towards a wider audience. They have actively participated in training courses organised at local and national levels. Furthermore, Ca trù clubs, which belongs to the province’s Cultural Centre, organise each year, advanced training courses of Ca trù to their own members and members of other clubs in order to select representatives to participate in the national festivals and training courses. Master artists in the province show a high level of commitment, dedication and responsibility to transmit their knowledge and skills to the younger generation.
- In Hà Nội, many Ca trù clubs are active in transmission efforts. Since 2002, Thái Hà Ca trù Club has organised training and teaching activities to around 20 clubs nationwide. The club holds regular Ca trù classes, each with six students (four young students and two middle-aged learners), at the artists’ residence every Sunday. The club also supervises foreign students for their research on Ca trù.
- Performances with participation of the master artists, such as Mr. Nguyễn Phú Đẹ and Nguyễn Thị Chúc, with exchange activities between artists of Thăng Long Ca trù Club (Hà Nội) and the audience have attracted much attention of young audience. The club also organises regular performances and introductory teaching sessions.
- Performances by a number of Ca trù clubs together with other forms of folk performing arts in the outdoor stage in front of Đồng Xuân Market in Hà Nội have created a popular cultural venue for residents and tourists to frequent in the weekends.
Besides the participation of heritage communities and practitioners, physical and emotional support and attention from many organisations and individuals has helped to revitalise and maintain Ca trù in the cultural and social life of Viet Nam.

B.5. Institutional context

Please report on the institutional context for the local management and safeguarding of the element inscribed on the Urgent Safeguarding List, including:

  1. the competent body(ies) involved in its management and/or safeguarding;
  2. the organization(s) of the community or group concerned with the element and its safeguarding.

Institutional context

a. Responsible agencies in the management and safeguarding of the heritage:
1. Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism (MoCST): the overall government management body of all cultural heritage, including Ca trù.
2. Department of Cultural Heritage: the technical body under MoCST responsible of providing technical and administrative supervision to the management of all cultural heritage, including Ca trù
3. Vietnamese Institute of Musicology: the responsible body for developing the Ca trù nomination file.
4. Department of Culture, Sports, and Tourism of 15 provinces and cities that possess Ca tru: specialised institutions under the auspices of provincial People’s Committee responsible for providing supervision and support to the implementation of safeguarding of cultural heritage, including Ca trù, in their respective province.
b. At the local level, over 60 Ca trù clubs in 15 provinces and cities play major role in the urgent safeguarding and promoting of Ca trù, keeping the element viable in today society.

B.6. Participation of communities in preparing this report

Describe the measures taken to ensure the widest possible participation of the communities, groups and, where applicable, individuals concerned as well as relevant non-governmental organizations during the process of preparation of this report.

Participation of communities in preparing this report

- Ca trù artists and practitioners provided information and data according to instructions of state management agencies in each part of UNESCO’s form.
- The heritage bearers participated in the research and survey at Ca trù locations, providing information for the report.
- Seminars with participation of different sectors concerned, including representatives of Ca tru practitioners and communities were organised to get input for local reports (Ha Noi case).

C. Signature on behalf of the state party

The report should conclude with the original signature of the official empowered to sign it on behalf of the State, together with his or her name, title and the date of submission.


Lê Khánh Hải


Vice Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism