LookAtVietnam – More than 500 people, mostly from rural areas, sang traditional songs from southern Viet Nam in an annual contest held by HCM City Television this month.
She’s a natural: An Giang-based amateur singer Tran Thi Be Tam traversed a long road before becoming one of 10 semi-finalists at this year’s Vong Co Golden Bell Contest.
“Singing vong co can help performers express their thoughts, dreams, and hopes,” says Tran Thi Be Tam of An Giang province, one of the 10 to qualify for the contest’s semi-final.
“I think the music is part of our country’s spirit,” says the 23-year-old housewife.
She found it daunting to take on competitors with polished performance skills in the qualifying rounds. But her natural voice and simple style left an impression of freshness on the jury and audience.
That could well be the story of this year’s competition since all of Tam’s competitors in the semi-final are from rural areas in Can Tho, Dong Thap, and Ben Tre.
“I took the long and hard road to become one of the contest’s best singers,” says Nguyen Thi Luan, 25, a worker living in An Giang province.
Luan began singing vong co at an early age because “Through it, a rural girl like me can learn a lot about life, love, and people”.
“By learning vong co songs I could improve my knowledge about the country’s history and culture,” adds Luan, who has worked hard to provide fans something new in her performance.
HTV viewers will vote for seven finalists who will compete for top prizes later this month.
Luan and the others will compete for the Golden, Silver, and Bronze Bells, with the winners to be chosen by a jury comprised of veteran artists and music researchers.
The Golden Bell winner will get a cash prize of VND35 million (US$1,900).
The organisers will also help the winners develop a professional stage career.
“Through our contest, we hope to encourage youngsters to appreciate the many forms of traditional Vietnamese music,” said Nguyen Quy Hoa, general deputy director of HTV and chief organiser.
The semi-final will be broadcast on HTV9 on October 1 and 8. The final is scheduled for October 15 at HTV Theatre on Dinh Tien Hoang street, District 1.
VietNamNet/Viet Nam News