“Phong hoa ca hoa vịnh” is an archival project that aims to inspire and provide applicable materials for the continuation of heritage.

“The flow of Nhà Bè splits into two/ Welcoming whoever returns to Gia Định, Đồng Nai with its blue”

From that familiar ca dao1, it resembles the stories and memories of how the Southern part of Vietnam was established. Through the endless stream of water, wading through more than three centuries of formation.

The inhabitants of the Southern land in the very beginnings were all migrants from faraway lands that came together. They found refuge in this newfound land, to find a way out of harsh restrictions from where they were from. With that in mind, the Southerners are known to their welcoming and generosity, they wouldn’t bother with the rigid customs and it’s a distinctive characteristics of the Southern culture. Often they are charitable and hospital toward others, honest and free-minded with their thinking, ready to pour their hearts and feelings out without hesitation. Like a way of sharing and bonding between folks from across the lands.

As the Southerners like to enjoy festivities and many other recreation activities, this has made feudal historians to publish some critical assessments of this culture within their work. Despite it all, the later trends and urging pace of globalisation has made the Vietnamese to assert themselves (some might say it could be a bit extreme) to join in the global cultural scene. This has opened a mission and a pressing challenge to conserve Viet values amongst the youth. With that in mind, the art performances of diễn xướng2 (such as hò, lý, hát ru,…) that used to be looked down upon by the elite, now has became the saving grace of preserving the values of the Southern land.

“Phong hoa ca vịnh” is the project to archive, educate, and apply the materials of Southern diễn xướng (such as ru, hò, lý) towards the youth. Through the activities of “Phong hoa ca vịnh”, Cultura Fish hope to introduce the traditional sounds of and to the modern rhythm, while also encourage the younger audience to utilise the folk elements of diễn xướng in a creative and honoring way.

The goal of “Phong hoa ca vịnh” project

  • Audience can distinguish different types of Southern diễn xướng (hát, lý, ru, hò) and different musical genres.
  • Audience can practice traditional diễn xướng– knowing how to appreciate and sing some little songs.
  • Having an interest and curiosity to learn more about different forms of Southern diễn xướng.

“Phong hoa ca vịnh” activities

“Phong hoa ca vịnh” happens from May 2021 – May 2023, including 03 parts: Archive – Educate – Application

  • Archive and sharing (Duration: May 2021 – February 2022)
    • Sharing foundational knowledge about traditional diễn xướng in Southern Vietnam and stories that can be applied and used with these materials.  
    • A selection of memoirs with traditional diễn xướng.
  • Education (Duration: throughout this project, depending on the situation of Covid-19)
    • Organising workshops of traditional singing with techniques from classical pentatonic scale.
    • Cultural appreciation events
  • Application (Duration: March 2022 – 2023)
    • In-depth workshops with researchers and experts on traditional instruments and diễn xướng for audience who are active in the arts sector.

 “Phong hoa ca vịnh” project wishes to introduce

  • Musician-Researcher Lê Hải Đăng

Musician-Researcher Lê Hải Đăng studied music at the age of 9, he graduated from Hanoi Music Academy in 1996 under the major of Music theory, Composition and Guitare. He was the Head of Traditional Culture department, Head of Cultural Heritage department at Vietnam National Institute of Culture and Arts Studies (VICAS). With years of studying and researching folk music and traditions, Lê Hải Đăng has been a speaker on numerous cultural projects that concerns with traditional music such as Southern Diễn Xướng (by Cultural Community Discourse- CCD), cultural exchange program between Vietnam and Taiwan.

  • Artist Nguyễn Văn Hưng (aka Sáu Hưng) and Artist Nguyễn Song Oanh

Artist Sáu Hưng and artist Song Oanh were the first generation of students from the Theatrical Academy 2 (now as Ho Chi Minh city Academy of Theatre and Cinema). They were members of Musical performance artist Tám Danh club (a part of HCMC Heritage Hub)- where they used to perform at various regions, supporting students from the Culture university, teaching đờn kìm 3 and ca cổ 4 to the youth. Moreover, artist Sáu Hưng is also the founder of Sáu Hưng band- the main artist group for “Southern Diễn Xướng” and illustrators for the book “Journey to Đờn ca tài tử 5”.

You can also write an email to us via [email protected] for support or working opportunities.

Translator’s notes:

  1. Ca dao: A short poem, typically in a sentence format of 6-8 words that rhymes together.
  2. Diễn xướng: Vietnamese art performance, you can read more about its explanation and classification here.
  3. Đờn kìm: Moon lute, a string musical instrument.
  4. Ca cổ: Traditional singing, using pentatonic scales and traditional techniques.
  5. Đờn ca tài tử: Southern Vietnam music, a types of “chamber” music.