Traditional Bac Ninh Folk Songs

Quan ho Bac Ninh is folk songs of the Red River Delta, concentrates mainly in Kinh Bac region (provinces of Bac Ninh and Bac Giang). This is a kind of art composed by the elements of music, lyric, costume, festival… Quan ho Bac Ninh folk songs show close-knit relation between male singers (lien anh) and female singers (lien chi) and are typical culture of Kinh Bac region’s people. It is very interesting in attending Quan Ho shows with culture tours by vietnam tour operator.

Quan Ho Singing festival
Quan Ho Singing festival

The heritage is inscribed in 2009 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. vietnam travel

Quan ho folk songs passed from generation to generation through oral have the most melodies in Viet Nam’s folk-song genres. Quan ho folk songs are always performed voluntarily in groups of male (bon nam) or female (bon nu). Each group usually has four to six people who are named by order such as “Second Sister”, “Third Sister”, “Fourth Sister”, or “Second Brother”, “Third Brother”, “Fourth Brother” and so on. If the size of a group reaches seven or eight people, then they are divided into “older siblings” and “younger siblings” named as the “Third Older Sister”, “Third Younger Sister” or “Third Older Brother”, “Third Younger Brother”…

Quan Ho Singing in festivals

Quan ho Bac Ninh
Quan ho Bac Ninh

For the Bac Ninh people, festivals not only allow them to highlight their own village’s specialties, such as ceramics, folk painting, wrestling, kite parades, or bird contest, among a great many other things, but also their common prized heritage, the Quan Ho singing tradition.

Quan Ho Singing in festivals traditionally began either at the communal-ritual house or at the Buddhist temple as early as the night before the main festival day. Nowadays, only a few major festivals continue that tradition, while most villages carry out the singing on the main day.

Instrumental Accompaniment

Instrumental accompaniment is slowly creeping in and welcomed by quan họ singers in some villages. The đàn bầu (monochord) is the most common instrument, followed by the sáo trúc (bamboo flute). Other traditional instruments may include the tam thập lục (36-stringed hammered dulcimer), etc. Occasionally the acoustic guitar and even the electronic keyboard are used.

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