Traditional artists sing out in fight against coronavirus

Together with pop singers, traditional artists have also been composing songs to raise spirits and awareness in the fight against coronavirus.

    Chèo (traditional opera) artists from the Youth Centre in the northern province of Thái Bình have composed two songs titled Chung Tay Đẩy Lùi Dịch Bệnh COVID (Working Together To Wipe Out COVID-19) using the melody from Đào Liễu by Trương Công Đỉnh, and Bài Ca Chống Giặc Dịch COVID (Song Fighting Against COVID-19 Enemy) taken from Xẩm Xoan by Mai Văn Lạng.

    An artist from the Thái Bình Youth Centre performs one of the songs. Photo cut from clip

    The first song talks about working together, showing determination, and not being afraid. "We will win…Hope everyone stays calm and brave…”.

    The second song features the lyrics: “The dangerous virus is everywhere, our village fights against it despite the risks … Our doctors have overcome all obstacles together with other forces, who have tried their best day and night…Ncovi has taken a beating …”

    The centre’s artists have also staged a chèo play named Chống Dịch Như Chống Giặc (Fighting Against The Epidemic Like Fighting The Enemy). The play lasts for eight minutes and features ancient melodies of Xẩm Xoan, Cách Cú and Ngũ Phúc. The lyrics of the three songs have been composed by Hồng Vân.

    “The use of three ancient melodies has good effect and inspires the audience,” said artist Hằng Nga, director of the centre and also a chèo lecturer. “This is an easy-to-remember, easy-to-understand way to spread prevention methods and protect the local community. The songs are funny as well.”

    The play has been performed by high school students who are taking part in the centre’s events.

    In order to follow regulations to avoid mass gatherings, the students did their own make up, practised separately at home and filmed themselves, then send their clips to the centre where they were edited.

    Nga said the centre had published the play to make a small contribution to the province’s prevention and fight against the epidemic, and enhance people awareness.

    Cải lương joins in

    Composer Lê Thế Song has recently released a cải lương (renovated opera) song titled Thiên Thần Áo Trắng Chiến Thắng Corona (Angel In White beats Coronavirus).

    The song has been performed by Meritorious Artist Hoàng Tùng (from the Việt Nam Cải Lương Theatre) and artist Xuân Hồng on YouTube, and has reached over 1,000 views since its release on April 4.

    The lyrics praise doctors and medical staff, who have been working tirelessly despite the risks they face.

    “We recorded the song hoping to share our feelings and gratitude to medical staff, the front line soldiers in this dangerous battle,” Tùng said. “We believe the pandemic will be overcome so that Vietnamese people and people around the world can enjoy peace and happiness again.”

    Earlier, People’s Artist Bạch Tuyết, who has been dubbed Việt Nam’s cải lương treasure, published a clip titled Ông Bà Anh Thời Covid-19 (My Grannies in COVID-19 Era). The song is a new cải lương-inspired version based on the song Ông Bà Anh (My Grannies) composed by Lê Thiện Hiếu.

     

    The clip has received over 48,000 views.

    Nguyễn Thanh Phương really liked the clip.

    “It’s a positive way of thinking, which will spread,” he commented under the clip. “This is the best vaccine for us these days. I have never been more proud of you.”

    People's artist Bạch Tuyết said the art of cải lương will never go backwards if it follows current affairs.

    "I just want to lure people to cải lương, even young people," she said.

    Quan họ voices up

    American Kyo York, who is based in Việt Nam, has also stunned audiences with his video titled “Trống Cơm - Chống COVID-19” (Based on the folk melody of Trống Cơm).

    The Vietnamese- English song has been mixed by Khúc Đạo Minh, while the English lyrics were written by Kyo himself.

    Trống Cơm is a popular melody of quan họ (love duet singing) of the northern plains in the Hồng (Red) River Delta. The art was listed as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity by UNESCO in 2009.

    In the video, Kyo wears the traditional Vietnamese long dress, and the song spreads a positive message: "People should listen carefully, avoid direct contact, stay away from Corona…”

    The song warns people not to gather in crowded places, wear masks, clean their hands with soap, not to touch their eyes, nose or mouth, and report if they experience difficulties breathing.

    The video has been viewed more than 660,000 since April 4. Most viewers think Kyo released the video at the right time, and praised the sentiment of the song.

    “COVID-19 is a global pandemic, so all artists want to make small contributions,” said composer Nguyễn Quang Long. “Traditional artists are no different.” VNS

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