Singing Ca Tru
Originating as a form of entertainment in the royal court, ca tru flourished in 15th century Vietnam and was transformed into performances in village communal houses, inns and private houses. To perform ca tru, at least three performers are required: a female singer is responsible for the vocals while playing the harp (a type of musical instrument made of wood or bamboo consisting of two parts, the bamboo lute and the bamboo lute. small wooden slats for hitting the foundation); a musician plays the “dan day” (a long-necked lunar lute with three silk strings and 10 frets); a drummer (usually a scholar or song writer) beats a drum “in adoration” (drum of praise).
While the singer is the main performer and the musician is the supporter for the singer, the drummer acts as a spectator or an evaluator of the performance. The way he plays the drums will indicate whether he enjoys the show or not; however, in reality, he plays to the rhythm of “phach”. Ca tru are also literally translated as counting songs because in the past, to pay for the performance, the audience had to give the female singer some bamboo cards; the number of cards corresponds to the amount that the singer will receive. In the 20th century, ca tru was almost unpopular when it was accused of being involved in prostitution and looking down on women when the female singer often had sex with the audience; However, this bad reputation stems from the feudal society’s convention that men are allowed to have more than one wife, not because of art and profession.
Today, ca tru has attracted much attention from people in the country and the world; It was recognized by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2009, just one day after Quan ho.