The preservation and promotion of Xoan singing should be combined with the worship rite of Hung Kings, heard a seminar in Hanoi on July 12.

The seminar, held by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Phu Tho provincial People’s Committee, aims to collect opinions on the project to preserve and uphold intangible cultural values of Xoan singing in the northern province of Phu Tho during the 2013-2015 period with a vision towards 2020.

At the event, Vietnamese leading experts and scientists shared the view that Xoan singing contains many traditional values in line with the worship of Hung Kings.

They suggested the preservation of four art troupes, namely Phu Duc, Thet, Kim Doi and An Thai, and said that attention should be paid to teaching Xoan singing to young people.

As a traditional style of ritual folk singing, Xoan singing is usually performed in front of communal houses during spring village festivals.

The participants agreed to let the art form develop in the community, leaving the traditional singing off the modern stage.

In order to create a cultural space and ensure the sustainable development of Xoan singing, many proposed the restoration and upgraded of historical relic sites that accompanied Xoan singing and the worship of Hung Kings a long time ago.

According to the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, 16 out of 30 relic sites where Xoan singing was once performed have disappeared completely, while many others are in a poor state due to the impacts of war and natural disasters.

Although it is annually performed at the Hung Kings’ Temple Festival, Xoan singing is at risk of falling into the shadows due to the erratic transmission of the art through the generations. At present, Phu Tho province has 69 Xoan singers but only eight of them can teach the art.

Given the situation, participants proposed better care for Xoan singing artists, who are seen as the leading factor in the preservation of the tradition.

The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has listed Xoan singing as part of the world’s Intangible Cultural Heritage in need of Urgent Protection.

The 200 million VND project’s objectives are to pull this genre of music from the list while promoting the singing as a local cultural product serving the province’s tourism development.

Meanwhile, the unique practice of worshipping Hung Kings has also been recognised by UNESCO as part of the world’s intangible cultural heritage.-VNA