TRACY DO: Hat Xam or Blind Singing in North Vietnam

Hat Xam or Blind Singing in North Vietnam

Tracy Do October 3, 2018 Vietnamese CultureNo Comments

Xẩm is a Sino-Vietnamese word which means blind. Hát Xẩm or Blind Singing is a type of folk singing art form in North Vietnam. In the past, the blind, the poor often used this art type to earn a living in the market or where many people were up and down. In this article, let’s explore this art form seeming strange.

According to legend, in the Tran Dynasty, King Tran Thanh Tong had two princes Tran Quoc Toan and Tran Quoc Dinh. As a result of the power struggle, Tran Quoc Dinh was killed by Tran Quoc Toan. Tran Quoc Toan blinded Tran Quoc Dinh’s eyes and dropped him in the middle of the forest. Waking up, because of the blind eyes, Tran Quoc Dinh just cried and fell asleep. In his sleep, he dreamed to see a fairy teach teaching him how to make a Vietnamese two-chord fiddle. Waking up, he made it and strangely, the echoes of the sound so good. The birds heard the echoes,  landed and bringing fruit to him to eat. After that, the foresters heard the echoes and found him. Tran Quoc Dinh taught the poor, the blind music and songs. Rumors about his music spread to the palace, the king called him to come to sing and recognized his son. Returning to royal life, Tran Quoc Dinh continued to bring the sound of the Vietnamese two-chord fiddle and songs to teach people to earn a living. Hát Xẩm was born from that and Tran Quoc Dinh was worshiped as an ancestor of Hát Xẩm. The people took 22 February and 22 August of the lunar calendar to celebrate his death.

Hat Xam or Blind Singing in North Vietnam

The musical instruments of Hát Xẩm are very simple. If a player, just using a Vietnamese two-chord fiddle is okay. If a player group, there are more other instruments such as a small drum, sênh sứa (2 pieces of bamboo), sênh tiền (coins), a flute or a monochord.

Hát Xẩm has 2 main tunes as Xẩm Chợ and Xẩm Cô Đào. Xẩm Chợ, strong singing, and Xẩm Cô Đào gentler singing. In addition, Xẩm also uses other folk melodies of the Red River Delta such as Trống Quân, Cò Lã, Hát Ru, Quan Họ, Chèo, Thơ. The folk melodies used in Hát Xẩm have been bent according to Xẩm tune. The content of the Xẩm songs is very rich such as lamenting the condition of poverty, praising national heroes, criticizing human bad habits.

Hát Xẩm was considered a form of livelihood for the poor, especially the blind before. Xẩm was performed in markets, streets, crowded places, but was not performed in the large stage. Therefore, in the present, few people know about this traditional art form. However, Hát Xẩm is still loved by the workers and the old in North Vietnam, is highly appreciated and tried to preserve by the state.

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About The Author

Tracy Do

Hi everybody! I would like to say thank you for reading my blogs whether you are planning your trip to Vietnam, expats who live and work in the country, students and researchers who would like to find information about Vietnam, especially Vietnamese culture, foodies who are interested in delicious Vietnamese foods and recipes and others. My friends call me Tracy and I am living in Ho Chi Minh City. Having a huge passion for travel and a master’s degree of Information Technology, I have launched some travel projects including Athena Travel Vietnam, Vietnam Trip Advice, Hidden Travel Vietnam, OXO Tour, Scooter Saigon Tour, Ao Dai Saigon Food Tour after graduating from abroad. Thousands of trav elers use our services and 99% of them are satisfied. What are my hobbies? Traveling, going to pagodas, museums and studying beautiful architectural works, visit tourist attractions. I have loved writing since I was a child. Writing blogs as well as sharing travel tips, tourist attractions and lots of hidden places are my top thing to do with my free time. Why are my blogs different from others? Ease of reading is the number one highlight. I have tried my best to use simple structures and vocabulary so that readers feel comfortable and convenient and find it easy to read. You may tend to read articles and blogs written by journalists of famous travel magazines, newspapers, travel websites or big travelers who travel around the world and have their own blogs. My blogs are written by a local so that you have a chance to learn more about less-known things, untold tips, hidden gems and foods. If you like my blogs, just share it on your social media. If you have any question relating to Vietnam, just comment or contact me via live chat, email, WhatsApp, Facebook. If you are going to travel to Vietnam, give our team a chance to show you Ho Chi Minh City and South Vietnam. Tracy’s team can handle all of your needs including Ho Chi Minh city tours, Ho Chi Minh scooter (motorbike) tours, Ho Chi Minh food tours, Saigon unseen tours, Mekong Delta tours, Cu Chi Tunnels Tour, Ho Chi Minh City transfer services, Ho Chi Minh City shore excursions.

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