100 years of ‘cai luong’ modern folk opera celebrated in southern vietnam

Cai luong is known as the traditional arts of singing & performing. The harmonious combination between the music band & the singers gives extremely good performance, and in some cases, the music band guides the singers to lớn move along with the music & sing. Therefore, the singers seldom sing well without the accompanying music. Music not only gives the singers inspiration lớn feel like singing but also attracts the audience to lớn listen và enjoy the performance.

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It is clear that the musicians play an important role in any performances but they vị not get much recognition, because often they work behind the stage or they sit in the orchestra pit, which hides them from the audience’s view. Likewise, the audience would see the pictures of the actors & actresses on the posters of the programs advertising a drama or music show, but they vị not see those of musicians.Traditional-music musician Van Vi was a well-known guitarist to many producers và millions of audience who knew him và loved his flowery and harmonious music.Van Vi’s real name was Dinh Van Dam, và he was born in 1929 in Binh Dang, which is now Binh Hung, Can Duoc district, Long An province. When he was 3 years old, he got smallpox & became blind. Then he was renamed Van Vi after the name of a star by his herbalist doctor. (In Chinese, his name Vi means a string instrument).It was purely a coincidence or fate that after being renamed khổng lồ Van Vi, he liked khổng lồ learn how lớn play the string instrument. At the tender age of 7, he was able khổng lồ play the Vietnamese two-chord fiddle. When his family moved khổng lồ Thuan Dong, he was taught to lớn play the guitar by musician bay Thua & music teacher Tu Lai, & then he was taught by teachers Tu Thin và Tu A in Thu Thiem.The legendary actress Ut Bach Lan recalled that when she was a little girl, she và Van Vi were very close friends because their mothers were like sisters, & they were both very poor. Van Vi was older than Ut Bach Lan, and he could play music at the time, so he taught her how to lớn sing & they both performed at the markets và bus stations to earn money to help their Because of their wonderful performance on the streets, they caught the attention of some actors who helped them take the first steps to the arts of Cai luong. Mrs. Nam giới Can Tho and the famous singer Thanh Cong introduced the little Ut khổng lồ sing at the Phap A radio station & gave her a stage name of Ut Bach Lan. Also, two musicians bay Ham và Hai Bieu introduced Van Vi to lớn play music at Phap A radio station. In addition, he was invited khổng lồ play the guitar at some entertainment clubs such as: Lac Canh in Cau Ong Lanh, Le Lieu in Thi Nghe market, & Hoa ngươi in dai The Gioi. All the while, Van Vi continued to lớn look for new ways to improve & perfect his skills from the well-known musicians ba Xay, Muoi Ut, và Chin Thanh. Van Vi at first worked for Minh Tinh troupe, then he was invited lớn be the leading musician for the band in Kim chung troupe.When Van Vi played slowly, his music was deep and smooth, the tune seemed lớn go directly into the hearts of the listeners. When he played quickly, his music was as fast và strong as the raging wind & pouring rain. However differently he played, his melody was always accurate & clear, especially when his fingers were at a stretch on the strings, he created sounds lượt thích the tune of the Vietnamese two-chord fiddle or tune of the violin in the long pitch.When playing together in a band, musicians often played creatively và they applied many different variations to a piece of music.

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The very skillful singers would have pleasure lớn sing along with the music of the masters, but the less skillful ones listening lớn Van Vi playing his tricky ways would get lost in the mixed sounds, as this was the case of the famous actor Hung Cuong who sang trọng out of tune.poor mothers.Musician Van Vi taught music lớn many actors/actresses & helped make them become famous. They included Ut Bach Lan, Thanh Huong, Duc Loi, Vu Linh, Tuan Thanh, Binh Trang, Minh Trung, Minh Long, Tai Luong, rã An, Hoai Thanh, Huu Tai, Thu Hue… Some of his students became musicians themselves such as: Van Ben, Van Hai, Minh Thao, và Huynh Khai. Van Vi had three children, Van An, Van Hau & Van Tai, all became famous musicians. Musician Huynh Khai, one of Van Vi’s students, has a Ph.D. Degree in traditional music.Van Vi’s wife, Mrs. Ngoc Thach, is his most trusted and dedicated assistant. She helped run Van Vi’s music school & made it into a well-organized place with well-planned methodology lớn help students learn better.Mrs. Ngoc Thach was once teaching French in Hoc Mon tía Diem school. One night she attended a music show to lớn raise fund for the Nguyen Dinh Chieu school, a school for the blind. On this night, she felt in love with Van Vi’s guitar melody, và she insisted on marrying him despite her parents’ disapproval. Her happy life afterwards proved that she was not wrong. With the help of a good and faithful wife, Van Vi had a happy family with three good children who all followed their father’s footsteps. Some famous actors, actress or musicians, who were once Van Vi’s students, became music teachers themselves, and they also continued Van Vi’s path.Van Vi had recorded many solo disks và harmonized with other musicians such as Sau Tung, phái nam Co, bay Ha, nhì Thom… He also recorded many “cai luong” plays và “tan teo giao duyen” songs with such famous singers as: Ut Bach Lan, Hung Cuong, Thanh Nga, Ngoc Giau, Le Thuy, Thanh Sang… The most special sự kiện was when Van Vi & Nam Co, another musician, helped the comedian Van Huong win the first prize in a vong teo contest in 1966 & 1967.

Many listeners loved Van Vi’s music in many traditional-music programs on không đúng Gon & Military radio stations.Talented musician Van Vi and other guitarists such as Hoang Hue, Van Con, Hoang Thanh, Van Hai… made the guitar a must-have piece of instrument in any music bands. In some cases, only the guitar could bring enjoyment to lớn singers & listeners.Van Vi was a talented, friendly & easy-going musician with a very good memory. Nguyen Phuong and Yen Son were managing a recording studio called Capitol, và we worked with Van Vi and Nam teo in 1966–1967. Then the studio was on fire in the lunar New Year of 1968 and was closed down. Both Nguyen Phuong & Yen Son stopped working for other recording companies. Instead, I went khổng lồ work for the television play unit and did not meet or worked with Van Vi since then.In 1984, Nguyen Phuong attended the wedding of composer Van Giai’s nephew. When Nguyen Phuong said hello to Van Giai at the door, Van Vi heard Nguyen Phuong’s voice và asked: “Are you still here, Nguyen Phuong?” It was nearly trăng tròn years that we hadn’t met, but Van Vi could still recognize his old friend’s voice!Van Vi passed away in 1985 at the age of 56. The Vietnamese archives still contain proofs of his talented và extraordinary style of playing music – a legendary musician indeed!source : SG Nguyen Phuongtranslated by onlyyou

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