VietNamNet Bridge – Phuong Mai talks to HCM City authorities about the latest plan to liven up the city’s streets.


Street spirit: Students from the HCM City Conservatory of Music perform on Nguyen Hue Pedestrian Street. Photo from the conservatory’s Facebook page

Though it has yet to be approved, a plan to establish a Music Street that would host both amateurs and professionals in downtown HCM City looks likely to get the go ahead.

District 1 officials, who submitted the plan to the People’s Committee, have proposed setting up the venue on either Alexandre de Rhodes or Han Thuyen streets, both of which surround the April 30 Park, one of the greenest sites downtown.

The two streets are near Book Street, Nguyen Hue Pedestrian Street, and the iconic Central Post Office and Notre Dame Cathedral.

The plan calls for having live music performances for two or three hours on weekend mornings.

Nguyen Thanh Phong, chairman of the city’s People’s Committee, urged the district’s authorities to submit a detailed plan on Music Street soon.

District authorities have already established a group to conduct research on the kind of facilities that may be needed and have asked the City’s Student Cultural House to outline a performance programme.

The Cultural House has dozens of music groups and clubs with members from local high schools, universities and colleges who play a variety of music, including contemporary, traditional and chamber music.

The Giai Dieu Phuong Nam (Melody of the South) Club, for example, performs folk songs of both the northern and southern regions, while the Not Nhac Xanh (Green Music Note) Club plays pop songs praising love and country.

Another club, called Tieng To Long (Voices from the Heart), provides traditional performing arts such as cai luong (reformed opera) and tai tu music.

Ngo Thanh Chung, director of the Cultural House, said: “The music groups and clubs at the HCM City Student Cultural House have experience performing in front of the public. They have performed for students at schools in the city and dormitories, for soldiers in the islands, at open-air stages, and for poor workers and people in rural areas.”

She said the performers would offer different themes and topics every week. For example, there would be a performance focusing on folk songs of the South and folk songs from the central region the next week.

Hoang Minh, a member of the Giai Dieu Phuong Nam Club, said: “My club’s members and I were happy when we heard the news. We’ll have more opportunities to play music.”

Chung said that it was “a good chance for young artists, particularly amateurs and music students, to show off their talent”.

Nguyen Hoang Anh, who studies music at the City’s College of Culture and Arts, suggested that District 1 authorities give priority to music students and performers with high potential.

“It will also help improve our skills,” she said.

Public opinion

However, many city residents as well as music producers and organisers worry that Music Street would cause traffic jams downtown.

Le Huu Luan, director of the HCM City Performing Arts and Cinematography Centre, who has hosted traditional music performances in front of the Opera House, said the idea to set up a Music Street was “interesting but unnecessary”.

“The city has Nguyen Hue Pedestrian Street, a huge square and an ideal venue for outdoor musical activities. Why don’t we use it as a Music Street,” Luan said.

Nguyen Hue Street is one of the most attractive outdoor entertainment hubs in the city, attracting musicians and dancers in the evening and on weekends.

Using Nguyen Hue Street as a venue to host music performances and other activities would help prevent traffic congestion downtown, Luan said.

Nguyen Thi Thu Huong, vice chairman of District 1’s People’s Committee, said the city would make a decision soon on the location of Music Street.

“District 1 authorities are collecting opinions from local residents and musicians to perfect the Music Street plan, which will be submitted to the City’s People’s Committee as soon as possible,” she said.


Celebration songs: Members of the Not Nhac Xanh Club (Green Music Note) at the HCM City Student Cultural House perform at a concert to welcome the Lunar New Year. Photo from the club’s Facebook page


Green venue: Han Thuyen Street is one of two streets that could be used for HCM City’s new Music Street, if approved by city authorities. VNS Photo by Phuong Mai



Green scene: Alexandre de Rhodes Street is one of two streets that could be the site of HCM City’s proposed Music Street, if approved by the city. VNS Photo by Phuong Mai

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