Bai Choi Singing in Binh Dinh
13:56', 6/5/ 2012 (GMT+7)

Bai Choi singing is one of the folk arts and contests in the central region, from Quang Binh to Binh Thuan. When mentioning this folk art, people often think of Bai Choi singing in Hoi An, Quang Nam Province. However, few people know that Binh Dinh is the cradle of the art. Now, the province has restored all ceremonies and rites of an ancient Bai Choi festival.

According to Nguyen An Pha, former Vice Director of the Binh Dinh Provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, most artists who performed at this festival were young and belong to the 3rd generation of Bai Choi singers. However, their voices, skills and improvisation were quite good.

Bai Choi singing originated from the daily life of people in rural areas in the central region. Therefore, the melodies and songs of Bai Choi are fairly popular, reflecting the simple souls and feelings of farmers as well as the social and cultural issues affecting their lives.

The structure of a traditional Bai Choi singing festival contest consists of nine bamboo huts with four huts standing parallel and one in the middle where the game’s umpire sits. The game starts when the umpire who wears a traditional costume gives the players three bamboo or wooden cards printed with pictures and words. When the umpire sings a sentence of a folk song that has the same words as the card of a player, he or she hits the wooden bell to signal that his or her card matches the umpire’s words and becomes the winner.

The umpire must have a wide knowledge of literature and the ability to quickly and humorously improvise. During the game, the beat of the drums, the ringing of wooden bells and the melodies of a two-stringed fiddle are necessary to make the festive atmosphere more ebullient and interesting. The audience can not help laughing when the umpire runs around shouting witty songs and poems. The rule of Bai Choi is not focused on winning but rather at relaxing and enjoying the mood.

The festival of Binh Dinh Bai Choi is an activity to further promote the unique artistic genre of the land. It is also expected to make a contribution to the target of submitting a profile of the cultural space of Binh Dinh Bai Choi to UNESCO for recognition as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity.

The umpire must have the ability to improvise quickly and humorously


Drumbeats create an exciting atmosphere at the festival


Bai Choi artists in Binh Dinh perform together.


A set of Bai choi cards.


Players sit in huts built with bamboo.


Source: VNP

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