Five clubs from Hanoi will perform ca tru, an ancient genre of Vietnamese chamber music, at a festival that will take place at the Temple of Literature on December 20-21.

The festival, organised by the Hanoi Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, aims to preserve ca tru and promote its precious values in response to its declining popularity.

Ca tru is a complex form of poetry found in the north of Vietnam using lyrics written in traditional Vietnamese poetic forms.

Ca tru groups comprise of three performers: a female singer who uses breathing techniques and vibrations to create unique sounds while playing the clappers or striking a wooden box, and two instrumentalists who produce the deep tones of a three-stringed lute and the strong sounds of a ceremonial drum.

The varied forms of ca tru fulfil different social purposes including worship, entertainment and competition.
The festival will look to encourage the development of ca tru singing clubs in the city as a way of safeguarding this special singing genre, which was recognised by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding in October 2009.

During the two-day event, foreign and domestic lovers of ca tru will have a chance to meet and chat with singers. They can also take part in a workshop being held tomorrow by experts on how to protect and promote this genre.

Ca tru singing appeared in the north around the 15th century and thrived until the early 20th century. Since then, it has lost popularity to imports of modern recreational forms and cultural activities./.VNA