Mélissa Laveaux performs at Idecaf

Mélissa Laveaux performs at Idecaf

The Cultural and Cooperation Antenna in HCMC and Idecaf will host a performance by Canadian musician Mélissa Laveaux at 8 p.m. on June 28 at Idecaf in HCMC’s District 1.

Born in Montréal, Mélissa Laveaux is an Ottawa musician of Haitian descent. The 29-year-old artist then moved to France after debuting her first album Camphor and Copper in 2008. Her second album Dying Is A Wild Night was released last year in Europe.

Laveaux follows genres of pop and jazz. She has heaped praise from her peers in the magazine Colorlines and is a recipient of the Songs from the Heart from the 2006 Ontario Council of Folk Festivals’ conference in the World Music category for penning “Koud’lo.” Apart from concerts in France, Laveaux has had tours in Japan and Spain.

Tickets to her show are available for purchase at Idecaf, 28 Le Thanh Ton Street, District 1 at VND100,000. Students will pay half price.

Vocal music is flavour of the month

The free monthly show by the HCM Ballet Symphony Orchestra and Opera to educate the younger generations about music and dance, Giai Dieu Tre (Young Melodies), will this month feature the art of vocal music.

The show, at the city Opera House at 8pm tomorrow, will feature excerpts from Verdi's La Traviata, Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro, Rossini's The Barber of Seville, Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor, and Gounod's Romeo et Juliette.

They will be sung by leading city chamber music stars like soprano Cho Hae Ryong, Ngoc Tuyen, Hong Vy, Thanh Huyen, Nhu Ngoc, Khanh Ngoc, Thanh Nga, tenor Tran Duy Linh, Pham Trang, and baritone Thanh Minh.

Tran Nhat Minh, assistant manager and chorusmaster of the HBSO Opera, will be the conductor and also introduce the programme.

Minh won the second prize at the 2003 International Competition for Young Conductors in Vladivostok in Russia, an incentive prize at the 2006 All – Russia Competition for Professional Conductors, and the best conductor prize at the 2009 National Competition of Voice-Dance and Music.

Invitations are available at the venue at 7 Lam Son Square, District 1, and the HCM City Student Support Center at 33 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street, District 1.

Family Day focuses on togetherness

It's 7.30pm on Saturday. Like any other Saturday, all family members of retiree Le Thi Duc gather around a large table in the living room in downtown Ha Noi. They have come to enjoy dinner together, a weekly ritual the entire family attends.

"Saturday dinner is our only meeting gathering all the family," says Duc.

"Even though we live in the same house, we rarely eat together because during the week, my son and his wife are busy at work till late. Their children are absent from dinner several nights for their extra classes."

The Saturday meal often consists of the family's favourite foods. The two children provide entertainment, telling stories about their teachers and friends or funny situations at the office where Duc's son and daughter-in-law work.

Occasionally, Duc and her husband laugh at the funny anecdotes, while they serve more food to the children and their parents.

Successful business man Nguyen Duc Kien has a different approach to bringing his family together on the weekend. Each Sunday, his family tries a different restaurant downtown.

"We have been busy throughout the week," he said. "My two sons often eat fast-food.

"I take all my family to a restaurant to enjoy good food while my wife is also free from cooking."

Kien's novel approach is part of a growing trend in big cities around the country. With the pace of city life and work commitments dragging down the number of family meals taking place at home, more families are opting to meet at restaurants.

A survey by the Ha Noi-based Institute for Gender and Development conducted in Ha Noi, HCM City, Da Nang, Nam Dinh and Dong Nai last year focused on charting the number of families having meals at home together.

Out of the 1,500 participants sampled across a wide range of ages and backgrounds, 21.3 per cent said they only had meals with their families on the weekend or on national holidays. Around 9.8 per cent said they regularly had meals together while 13.5 per cent said they never had dinners with the entire family present.

Researcher Le Thi Quy, director of the institute, told Viet Nam News that family meals were important to family life and allowed family members to discuss their feelings, keep their families informed and seek advice.

"The trend that people in urban area eat less and less with their family members due to different work schedules is inevitable in this period of development," she said.

"Each family should find out the best way to stay in touch, express their love and care."

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has chosen "A Warm Love Family Meal" as the theme for this year's Family Day, to be celebrated this Saturday (June 28). As part of the theme, all 30 million households throughout the country are being encouraged to host a family dinner on the day.

"We hope to set up a movement of family members having meal together more often so that all family members share their feelings and care for one another," said Tran Tuyet Anh, head of the ministry's Family Department that has organised a range of activities for the day.

"Family meals are an important time to nurture and educate children, take care of elders and strengthen bonds."

Club donates books to island kids

The Hoi An Book Club has donated 500 books to children living on Cu Lao Cham Island, 18km off the coast of the ancient city.

These books, which were collected from families in Ha Noi, HCM City, Da Nang and Thai Binh, will help promote reading among local children.

Cham Island was recognised as a world biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 2009, and it welcomes around 100,000 tourists annually, 10 per cent of whom are foreigners.

The Hoi An-based club holds free reading groups for around 100 children on Sundays.

Photo, writing contest fetes April 30

All Vietnamese people and foreigners of all ages and occupations are invited to participate in a photo and writing contest about their feelings for Viet Nam's people and natural landscape.

The contest has been jointly organised by Tuoi Tre (Youth) daily newspaper and Saigontourist, one of the country's largest tourism agencies, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Sai Gon liberation which took place on April 30, 1975.

Entitled Tan Huong Ban Sac Viet (Enjoy the Vietnamese Identity), the contest's themes are about beautiful moments which depict the beauty of nature, daily life and traditional customs, festivals, local gastronomy and the hospitality of the Vietnamese people across the country.

In the writing category, the contest welcomes new ideas as well as descriptions of personal experiences of experts and tourists about tourism products, local culture and cuisine.

All written entries should be submitted by October 31, 2014, while the photo entries should be sent by February 28, 2015, to http://bansacviet.tuoitre.vn or to the Tuoi Tre newspaper, 60A Hoang Van Thu Street, Phu Nhuan District, HCM City.

The contest's jury comprises well-known photographers, writers and journalists from HCM City and Vietnamese Artistic Photographers' Associations and the Tuoi Tre newspaper.

Documentary film about Yersin screened in Khanh Hoa

The Swiss Embassy in Vietnam on June 25 organised a screening of the film “It’s not a life that doesn’t move” chronicling the life and career of Dr. Alexandre Yersin, in the central province of Khanh Hoa.

This is only the third screening worldwide of the 90-minute documentary film by filmmaker Stephane Kleeb on the occasion of the 120th anniversary of Yersin’s discovery of the deadly Bacillus virus responsible for the bubonic plague. He was credited with making up a vaccine that saved the world from the biggest-ever scourge then.

The film reminds us of the great scientist’s hard work, perseverance and a lifetime of devotion to science and humanity, Swiss Ambassador Andrej Motyl said at the opening of the show, which attracted more than 500 scientists and students from local research institutes and universities.

Born in 1863 in Switzerland, Yersin studied medicine at prestigious institutions across Switzerland, Germany, and France. In 1888, he became a naturalised French citizen, and two years later, he was shipped off to Vietnam to become a physician for the Messageries maritime company.

Ultimately, he chose the coastal city of Nha Trang in Khanh Hoa province as his living place throughout the rest of his life.

As founder of Nha Trang Pasteur Institute, co-founder and the first principal of the Indochina Medical College, the predecessor of the current Hanoi Medical University and the Hanoi University of Pharmacy, Yersin made the list of the world celebrities for his colossal number of research pieces.

In 1990, a relic complex dedicated to him in Khanh Hoa was recognised as a national cultural relic site. Later in 2013, he was awarded the posthumous title of “Honorary Citizen of Vietnam”, in coincidence with his 150 th birthday and 70 th death anniversaries.

He was buried in Nha Trang, with the epitaph, “Benefactor and humanist, venerated by the Vietnamese people” etched on his gravestone.

Earlier, the documentary on Yersin was screened at the Hanoi National University and the Ho Chi Minh University of Sciences.

First Television Team Game Show for villages

Lasta Multi-Media Joint-Stock Company has just announced to organize and operate a Team Game-show for the villagers under the name “The Bridge in Dream” to raise funds to build bridges.

At the moment in many rural areas, especially the Mekong Delta, with the complex network of rivers and canals, local people find it hard to travel due to the lack of bridges, or they have to build their own temporary and dangerous bridges. Through the form of a television game show, “The Bridge in Dream” is where businesses, organizations, and individuals can contribute both physically and financially to build bridges for the villagers.

The game show will consist of two teams, selected from two enrolled villages, who will compete against each other to win the prize of VND500 million to build a bridge for their village. The prize is sponsored by Saigon Beer-Alcohol-Beverage Joint Stock Corporation. The other team will receive supports to build a social service facility such as a well or a water filter system.

In the first season, each of the enrolled villages will vote for a representative to participate in challenging games, which will require a strong sense of solidarity and both intellectual and physical power. The winner team will receive a cable-stayed bridge worth VND500 million. The game show is expected to contribute to turn villagers’ dream of durable bridges into reality to serve the need of traveling, communicating and studying. The game show will be aired by Let’s Viet Channel, from 7:30p.m to 8:30p.m on the last Sunday of every month, and will commence in July 2014 at destitute villages, especially remote areas in the Mekong Delta. It will be aired every month and consist of 12 episodes in the first year.

Heat, light and transformation in ‘Summer Galleria’

A group exhibition named ‘Summer Galleria’ by eight artists is opening at San Art in HCMC’s Binh Thanh District, featuring paintings and installations made in diverse materials and styles which can transfer many metaphors of destinies, nostalgias, delusions and desires of humans to visitors. This galleria showcase focuses on the key ideas of heat, light and transformation.

The impression comes first with the ‘Lotusland’ of San Art co-founder, Dinh Q Le, with his tiny fi gurine devoted to the victims of Agent Orange.

Then, the symbolic presence of the lotus as a sign of re-birth is echoed in the work of Ngoc Nau, whose ‘Blinded Girl in the Word of Light’ walks a landscape blooming into photographic existence with its speckled growth of light.

Nguyen Huu Tram Kha and Truong Cong Tung, meanwhile, comment on the internal and external worlds of birth and enlightenment in the metaphorical picturing of energy as human reproduction and transformation, respectively working in soft sculpture and hand-drawn illustrations.

Photographer Phan Quang looks to the mythologies of birth in Vietnam with his staged performers placed under specially constructed bamboo sculptures and looking towards the sea and the mountains, recalling the birthing legend of Au Co and Lac Long Quan.

Le Hoang Bich Phuong adapts the traditional folk stories of the past in producing her own transformations of animal and human, her careful silk-ink paintings being the delicate reminder of the fragility in the human desire for change. Meanwhile Sandrine Llouquet pushes transformation one step further by thinking of how technology is another form of light and knowledge, taking viewers on a futuristic journey with her installation of tiny red ladies in a possible ritual of respect.

Finally come the weavings by Tran Xuan Anh with her interwoven layers of white dried paint. Her painting is a careful textured surface or perhaps a blast of white light, a blank space, a new beginning.

The exhibition will run until July 31 at San Art, 3 Me Linh Street in HCMC’s District 1.

Vietnam Idol 2013 winner debuts first music video

After being crowned at the Vietnam Idol 2013 contest nearly two months ago, Tran Nhat Thuy, a 23-year-old singer from the northern province of Nam Dinh, will release her first music video “Khoanh khac tuyet voi” (a wonderful moment) on July 5.

The song is composed by HCMC-based young musician Pham Toan Thang, who has had some hits like Co be mua dong, Dau mua, Chay mua, and Tim among local youth. He also challenges himself in the X-Factor reality show on VTV3 for the fi rst season this year.

Defeating over 25,000 contestants nationwide to achieve the highest position, Nhat Thuy has been an inspiration for other young people to pursue their singing career. “’Khoanh khac tuyet voi’ is a good memory of me about Vietnam Idol contest. I also mark my first step on the way to the singing career,” Thuy said in a statement.

The video will be a collage of memories during her time at the contest. Previously, Thuy performed the song on stage of Vietnam Idol’s final round night in May. Tran Nhat Thuy is a student of the Military College of Culture and Arts in Hanoi.

U.S. consulate donates US$10,000 for YxineFF 2014

The U.S. Consulate General in HCMC has announced to support US$10,000 for the international online film festival YxineFF 2014.

The grant is under the “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month,” organized by the American Center of the U.S. Consulate General and the U.S.

President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in June 2014. The US$10,000 grant will go to YxineFF for the category ‘LGBT Focus’ of YxineFF 2014. On Tuesday, at the Cargo Bar in HCMC, the U.S. Consulate General and YxineFF organized Rainbow Cinema Night, screening three short films, including Talking to My Best Friend directed by Nguyen Le, Even Just for One Day directed by Nguyen Trong Khoi and Spring Memory directed by Trang Zen.

Previously, on June 17, 19 and 20, there were screenings at The American Center showing films nominated for YxineFF’s Rainbow Heart Award through four years of the festival. At the screenings, film crew members joined Q&A sessions to share their experience in making their films.

“LGBT Pride Month” includes other events such as lectures, photo exhibitions and discussions throughout June to enhance the society’s understanding of the LGBT community.

Commenced in May 2010, YxineFF - an annual online international short film festival at www.yxineff .com - is a voluntary, non-profit and independent project receiving support from many organizations, companies and individuals, including the Danish Cultural Development & Exchange Fund, Goethe Institute Vietnam, British Council Vietnam and the U.S. Consulate General in HCMC.

With the slogan “Sharing. Love. Cinema”, YxineFF’s target audience is young independent filmmakers and cinema lovers. The YxineFF 2014 is themed ‘The Dreamers’, following ‘Choice’ (2013), ‘Individual’ (2012), ‘Belief’ (2011) and ‘Love’ (2010). YxineFF 2014 screens 76 films in four categories: International Competition, Local Competition, Panorama and In Focus.


Young Melodies, Yersin, Family Day