A ceremony to honour the originator of “xam” singing, a genre of music and performance once popular in rural northern Vietnam, was held in Hanoi on April 2.

“Xam” singing - ballads once sung by wandering blind musicians- dates back over 700 years ago. Legend has it that under the Tran dynasty, the blind Prince Tran Quoc Dinh met a fairy in the forest who taught him how to make a kind of musical equipment. He later taught the music to the visually-impaired people so that they could use it as a way to earn their living. The prince was honoured as the founder of this genre of singing, and February 22 on the lunar calendar was marked as his death anniversary, which fell on April 2 this year.

Prof. Pham Minh Khang, Director of the Vietnam Music Development Centre – the organiser of the event, said that his centre’s artists and researchers in the past years have been joining hands with “xam” veteran artists and masters to preserve the traditional values of the art form.

To that end, “xam” performances are held every Saturday at Dong Xuan market, the biggest wholesale outlet in Hanoi, Khang said.

The first training course with 16 participants who love the singing has been conducting over the last two years under the organisation of the centre and the Hue Academy of Music, he added .-VNA