Last update 2/2/2012 1:58:10 PM (GMT+7)

Japanese concert to warm up Hanoi

Three Japanese artists playing drum, three-string musical instrument and cymbals will perform at Tuoi Tre (Youth) Theatre in Hanoi on February 14.

The event, co-organized by the Embassy of Japan in Vietnam and the National Academy of Music, aims to promote cultural exchange between the two countries.

Twins Inoue Ryohei and Inoue Kohei will play Shamisen, a three-string musical instrument, and the Wadaiko drum.

Besides, Saito Hideyuki, who has toured to around 150 cities in Japan and foreign countries, will play cymbals.

Free tickets will be available in the Embassy of Japan from February 7.

3,000 artists join National Tourism Year’s street festival

The central province of Thua Thien-Hue will organize various activities to promote the image of Hue City and neighboring provinces during the 2012 National Tourism Year of the Northern Central Coastal Area which was launched earlier this week.

Around 3,000 artists will join street festivals through the streets of Hue and adjacent areas.

A number of festivities will take place including a parade, dragon dance, lion dance shows, puppet show, martial arts, hip hop and aerobic performances, a carnival with a parade of ladies in traditional costume and a cyclo parade.

The province will also offer attractive tourism products featuring typical characters of Hue imperial citadel and regions in the Northern Central Coastal Area such as craft village and MICE (Meeting, Incentive, Convention and Exhibition) tourism and tours to lagoons, gardens, markets and ancient villages.

Phan Tien Dung, deputy director of the province’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism and a member of the organizing board of the 2012 National Tourism Year, is confident that this year the province will lure 2.5 million tourists and earn VND2.5-3 trillion.

There are more forthcoming events in Hue City that tourists should not miss such as Huyen Tran Temple Festival, an occasion to pray for prosperity and peace for the people of Vietnam, Nguyen Tieu Festival and Full Moon Festival.

Vietnamese movie on lesbian couples to be screened at ASEAN film fest

“Which Way to the Sea” is one of five Vietnamese movies to be shown at the second Lifescapes Southeast Asian (SEAN) Film Festival, scheduled for Chiang Mai, Thailand, from February 2-5.

The film tells stories how five Vietnamese lesbians from the three regions of the country have coped with their daily lives after announcing their gender.

The 53-munitue film was directed and produced by the Hanoi Laboratory for documentary films and video arts (Hanoi DOCLAB).

Four other Vietnamese movies to be screened at the upcoming event include “The Story of Ones”, “Who Owns the Land?”, “Hanoi Eclipse – the Music of Dai Lam Linh”, and “With or Without me”?.

The Thai film fest aims to create a venue for young film-makers from the Mekong Sub-region, including Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam.

Vietnam attends Francophone Film Festival

Vietnamese film “Bi, dung so !” (Bi! Don’t Be Afraid) directed by Phan Dang Di is being shown at the second Francophone Film Festival in Paris, France from January 31 to February 7.

Present at the film screening in La Pagode on February 1 were Le Hong Chuong, Director of the Vietnamese Cultural Centre in France, and many Overseas Vietnamese, French and international friends, including those from Canada, Belgium, Cambodia, Switzerland and Nigeria.   

The film was introduced at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival, and the 2010 Vancouver International Film Festival. It won a prize at the 2011 Asian Film Festival.

Quang Ninh festival gathers more than 80 international poets

More than 80 poets from 27 countries and territories around the world have arrived in Vietnam to attend the 1st Asian-Pacific Poetry Festival, which is opening in the northern province of Quang Ninh today.

Titled “Poetry for a Peaceful, Co-operative and Developed Asia-Pacific,” the 3-day event also benefits from the participation of 40 local poets.

The foreign guests include such world-renowned names as Ko Un, the Korean poetwho was nominated for the Nobel Prize in 2011 and Ahn Kuyn Hwan, also from Korea, who translated Ho Chi Minh’s noted poem collection “Nhat Ky Trong Tu” (Diary in Jail) into Korean.

American poet Lady Borton who received the Peace Award by the War Resisters League under the London-based War Resisters' International organization in 1988, and Ban'ya Natsuishi, chairman of the Japanese Haiku Poem Association are also among special festival guests.

According to the schedule, the poets will attend a seminar titled “Peaceful, Co-operative and Developed Asia-Pacific,” a poem reading session, Vietnamese Traditional Poem Day and a meeting with President Truong Tan Sang.

Hanoi theatre cuts down show after noise complaint

Hanoi’s Thang Long Ca Tru Theatre which is known for its regular Ca Tru shows catering to foreign tourists has just had to cut down its number of shows due to a recent surge of complaints from neighboring residents.

The theatre is among a few numbers of venues that strive tirelessly to preserve Ca Tru, the ancient Northern genre of chamber music featuring female vocalists which was recognized as an Intangible Cultural Heritage in need of Urgent Safeguarding by UNESCO in 2009.

Starting last November, Thang Long offered a nightly program of Ca Tru shows for both foreign and domestic listeners which have now been reduced to a three-day schedule per week on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

Dao Thi Hue, a leading artist of the genre at the theatre and a lecturer at the Vietnam National Music Academy said the cut was due to a growing number of complaints from local residents in Ma May, a small street of Hanoi’s Old Quarter.

The strongest opposition comes from a household whose residence was burnt in a fire happening last year, followed by others who claimed that Ca Tru sounded as depressing and dull as funeral music to them.

The noted performer said Thang Long’s management board thus had to change their programs in order not to bother these residents.

She also added that the change did not worry her much as the theatre had already signed with a number of tour operators to offer regular shows for their tourists.

Thang Long’s performances have been known to feature veteran artists and performers such as the artisan Nguyen Phu De, Nguyen Thi Chuc or singer Pham Thi Man and musician Nguyen Van Tuyen from Dong Anh, Hanoi.

The theatre opened again after Tet (Vietnamese New Year) last Saturday, with tickets costing VND 20,000 per person including tea and information sessions of traditional music.

Ha Noi Photography Club to host meeting

The Ha Noi Photography Club will host its first meeting of the year on Sunday.

Anyone who is keen on photography is welcome to attend the meet in front of Tran Quoc Pagoda between 3-5pm.

Kick Off to perform at Heresy Rock Club

Kick Off will be playing at the Heresy Rock Club, 7 Cao Ba Quat Street every Tuesday from 8.45-11pm.

The cappella group play instruments such as the saxophone, the violin and the guitar.

Free Vietnamese classes at Puku Cafe

Vietnamese lessons will take place every Wednesday from 7-9pm at Puku Cafe, 16 Tong Duy Tan Street in Ha Noi.

Everyone is invited to attend.

Rock band Pentatonic to perform in Ha Noi
Vietnamese rock band Ngu Cung (Pentatonic) will be performing their first live show of the year this Friday.

The show, entitled Dragon, will take place from 8.30pm to 1am at Ha Noi Rock City, at 27/52, To Ngoc Van Street, Tay Ho District.

The five-member band won first prize at the national Rock Your Passion contest in 2007.

Tickets cost VND100,000 at door.

Young painter set for debut show

Nguyen Van Du, a member of the HCM City Fine Arts Association's Young Artists Club, will hold his first ever solo painting exhibition at the association premises on Friday.

Mot Mo Bong Bong (Tangled) will showcase 40 oil, acrylic, and industrial-paint works that reflect the artist's take on life.

The exhibition at 218A Pasteur Street, District 3, will go on until.

Asian artists bring jazz to HCM City

Jazz band Unit Asia, formed by five musicians from Japan, Thailand and Malaysia, will perform at a concert in HCM City on Sunday.

Vietnamese singer Tung Duong will join the band at the show at Ben Thanh Theatre, which will begin at 8pm.

Free tickets are available at the theatre and the Japanese consulate in the city.

Pop star to sing love songs on Valentine's Day

Pop star Dam Vinh Hung will sing at a concert at the HCM City Opera House on February 14, Valentine's Day.

He will perform his popular love songs, and will be joined by singers Le Quyen, Duong Trieu Vu, and Nhu Y, and actor-model Binh Minh.

Festival to have 2,000 Quan Ho singers

The annual traditional Lim Festival which opens this week in northern Bac Ninh Province will receive a record number of Quan Ho singers gathering for its traditional Quan Ho performances.

More than 2,000 singers will be present at the festival, wearing distinctive traditional costumes and singing Quan Ho, a Vietnamese folk music style originated in what is now Bac Ninh Province during the 13th century.

Quan Ho was recognized as a Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO in 2009, and has traditionally been associated with the likes of spring festivals such as the Lim Festival that follow the celebration of Tet (the Vietnamese New Year) on the 12th and 13th of the Lunar calendar.

As is traditional, the festival will be held in two parts: local religious ceremonies at the Count Nguyen Dinh Dien Temple, Hong An Pagoda and entertainment activities which include folk games, contests, poetry readings and Quan Ho performances.

The festival will be held on February 3 – 4 in Noi Due, Lien Bao and Lim town, Bac Ninh Province.

HTV shows film on Heroic Mothers

HTV 9 will broadcast this week the first five episodes of a new documentary about Heroic Mothers whose husbands, sons and daughters were killed in the liberation wars.

The 100-episode Huyen Thoai Me Viet Nam Anh Hung (Legends of Vietnamese Heroic Mothers), scripted by Tram Huong, was produced by HCM City's Television Film Studio. Each episode will present the life of one woman, and feature stories told by them about their husbands and children.

"We made the documentary to remind the younger generations of the nation's glorious tradition and to express our respect and admiration for the Heroic Mothers," its director, Ly Quang Trung, said.

There are about 47,000 women who were conferred the title of Heroic Mother in the country, most of them very old.

The five episodes will be broadcast at 8:50pm everyday until February 6.

Whale worship still thrives
The quaint and exclusively Vietnamese custom of people in certain fishing villages worshipping whales is certainly not a thing of the past.

Indeed, in several villages from north to south Viet Nam, temples are set aside to seek blessing from the whales and to invite them to help provide a bountiful catch for the year.

On Monday, about 10,000 fishermen gathered in the southern province of Bac Lieu's Hoa Binh District to join the first whale worship festival to be held in the region.

The event has been popular in coastal provinces from central Quang Binh southward because of a belief that the large sea mammals rescue people in danger and accompany them to shore.

At Monday's celebrations, residents with flags, drums and trumpets set out to sea in dozens of motor-boats in the early morning as a new temple, Duyen Hai drew crowds of visitors.

At the junction of the sea and river, the fishermen's orchestra reached a crescendo to invite passing whales to become official deities at the temple.

The fishermen also prayed that the whales would help them catch fish and bring prosperity.

The three-day festival also hosted various artistic performances and folk games to entertain festival goers.

Timing for the festival is different from province to province.