Performing Ca Hue at Citadel Night

Though it is not a regular show because of its dependence on the weather, audiences with their love for Ca Hue always leave a good impression on the artists.

They can be foreigners, Vietnamese people, both young and old, even naive children who know almost nothing about Ca Hue. But through their attentive eyes we know they are true lovers of Ca Hue.

Their repertoire includes “big” songs about historical figures and patriots which are proper to be sung in the citadel. Through the songs tourists and those who love Ca Hue have a deeper understanding of the Citadel of Hue, hence respecting the landscape and people of the ancient imperial capital.

Though the performance does not start until 8 p.m., regular audiences are present at Chuong Duc Gate very early. Mrs. Nguyen Thi Hue (living in Ngo Thoi Nham St.) took her two grandchildren with her to the show.

She says she has been in love with Ca Hue since she was a child, but she just watched it on TV. Now that she can see and listen to singers in real life, she is so excited. She used to think there was a distance between singers and her, but now she can tell every face. She talks and takes pictures with them every night.

Though the artists get paid by Hue City Culture Information and Sport Center, the salary is very modest. Understanding their hard lives and appreciating the fact that the shows are free on every Tuesday at 25 Le Loi Street, audiences offer to bring a small carton with the words Dong dieu Tri Amon it so that the artists can get some extra money from audiences. It is the audience that brings the artists happiness through their simple actions.

Apart from audiences who live nearby and know the schedule, there are foreigners from various countries in the world. They patiently wait for the show, eagerly touching and asking about the musical instruments and the traditional costume.

For the artists, their biggest happiness after each show is not the wages, but the love for them from their audiences.

There is an old woman with gray hair and a curved back who attends every show watching from beginning to end. There is a middle-aged man pushing his mom in a wheelchair to the show. He stands next to the wheelchair and they both watch until the end. There are still children who attentively watch the show while others playing around. Some help their parents put money into the box.

“Though our children are too young to understand this “scholarly” art, we still want to take them along. We want our children to get acquainted with Ca Hue so that they will love and take pride in this intangible art heritage of our hometown,” said Minh Tam and his wife.

Few people listen to Ca Hue. The fact that the Ca Hue Club has given free shows for nearly 10 years now with a view to spreading Ca Hue is an action of responsibility which is worth praising.

Audiences’ sentiment for Ca Hue is a source of inspiration for the artists to improve their art, bringing their singing voices to their “soul mates” at the Citadel Night.

Story: Trang Thuy – Photo: Dang Tuyen
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