Update:  GMT+7

Quang Tri preserves art of Bai Choi , generating sustainable development

Local authority efforts to preserve and promote Bai Choi singing pay off.

Bai Choi is a unique, long-standing intangible cultural heritage of Vietnam's central region, especially Quang Tri Province. Over time, the art has been deeply embedded in the mind and daily life of the locals. The province has taken many specific solutions and activities to develop the heritage's value.

Quang Tri preserves art of Bai Choi , generating sustainable development

At Kim Dong Primary School, Vinh Linh District, Pupils excitedly participated in Bai Choi singing during extracurricular activities. Photo by: T.L

Bai Choiis a traditional Vietnamese game combining folklore singing and picks from a deck of cards. In 2018, the provincial People's Committee of Quang Tri issued Decision No. 1899/QD-UBND on launching the Scheme to protect and promote the value of Central Vietnam's Bai Choi intangible cultural heritage between 2018 and 2023. Accordingly, favorable conditions have been created for bringing the art closer to the public, especially the younger generation.

During this period, the local Center for Culture and Cinema opened 14 training classes in folk music and Bai Choi, in which over 400 trainees have acted as the nucleus in promoting the arts in the districts of Vinh Linh, Gio Linh, Cam Lo, Trieu Phong and Hai Lang, as well as Quang Tri Town.

As a result, most localities in the province have had Bai Choi clubs and associations.

Ho Thi Le Xuan, a trainee in the Bai Choi class in Hai Le Commune, Quang Tri Town, said the rusticity, closeness, and ease of reaching people's hearts of Bai Choi folk melodies make her love them and attending the folk music class.

"I find the classes very useful for localities, practically contributing to spreading traditional Bai Choi to the public, especially the younger generation, thereby promoting the intangible cultural heritage's value," Xuan said.

At the same time, the promotion of the heritage has also been furthered by the Department of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, with thematic activities regularly integrated into the province’s special occasions and anniversaries and cultural, artistic, and political events.

Besides, the province's officials and civil servants have stepped up to review and mobilize families, artisans, and musicians with skills, experience, and understanding of Bai Choi in the art's restoration, preservation, and development in the locality. More than 100 suites, melodies and shanties have been collected, inventoried, and documented, notably Quang Tri's rice-pounding shanty, Nhu Le shanty and oar-pulling shanty. New lyrics for 30 Bai Choi cards have also been written.

The promulgation of policies, conditions and environments for artisans, clubs and communities to perform the art has also received attention. By 2022, 10 individuals had been awarded the title of 'Merited Artisan' by the President for the intangible cultural heritage of Binh Tri Thien folk music, Quang Tri rice-pounding shanty and Bai Choi singing.

From 2021 to 2023, the province granted an average of VND6 million, or US$250, in extra funding to 22 clubs that substantially contributed to preserving and promoting intangible cultural heritage, including Si folk music and Bai Choiclubs.

Along with communication and training, the province also exploited the Bai Choi heritage to serve cultural and tourism development.

In the localities, art has gradually become a meaningful playground for the locals, especially attracting many young people during festivals, including Lunar New Year (Tet) and spring celebrations. Bai Choi has also been introduced at schools to help the young generation understand more about the traditional art form of their homeland, which was inscribed on UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list in 2017.

"Since 2018, the school has integrated the art of Bai Choi into extracurricular activities for the pupils to learn more about this folk art, thereby spreading a passion for Bai Choi to all of them. Many proactively and enthusiastically participated in singing the songs in the local festivals. At the same time, the pupils become promoters who spread the love of Bai Choi art to their families and communities," said Ho Xuan Huyen, General Manager of Kim Dong Primary School's Ho Chi Minh Young Pioneer Organization.

Thanks to positive and uniform activities, Bai Choi has gradually become one of the forms of cultural activities that a large number of people participate in, especially the younger generation.

Based on the results achieved, in the coming time, the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism will continue to enhance the dissemination of the Party's guidelines as well as the State's policies and regulations in the field of culture, alongside activities to restore and promote the value of Bai Choi art in the province, to the people from all walks of life.

Moreover, it will provide more conditions for the clubs and artisans to open classes locally. The art will also be linked with tourism activities, including Bai Choi performances in annual festivals.

Thanh Le - Jenna Duong

Thanh Le - Jenna Duong

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