Cheo Singing

When did the Cheo appear?

Cheo’s origins date back to 12th century under the Ly Dynasty. Cheo’s root came from Red River Delta. It derives from folk traditions. It was transmitted by oral, including a combination between traditional set pieces and improvisational routines suite for amateur theatre.  A message of satirical criticism of the existing social order is carried in Cheo’s songs. Some musical instruments are used mostly in traditional music such as fiddle, flute.

Normally, when the farmers ended their crops harvest, they hold the festivals namely Cheo singing and so on. It is considered a chance to exchange the information, to make new relationships.  It is an inspiration to create many national Cheo repertories which are regarded as treasures of the traditional stage, for example Truong Vien, Kim Nhan, Luu Binh – Duong Le and Quan Am Thi Kinh…


As many ancient performance arts, Cheo is oral one with stories are composed by anonymous authors. Daily life stories, legends, poetries all were performed in the Cheo.

Also, you can see acrobatics senses and magic shows in the Cheo’s performance. Tales of chiefs, heroes and lovely maidens   are told in Cheo.  It offers an electric mix of romance, tragedy and comedy.  Folk songs with pantomime, instrumental music and dances along with instructive or interpretative sketches created these stories.  Beside the stories, the characters are the soul of a play like Tuong, Cheo

Cheo buffoon

The action is in an amusing or satirical as well as to mock pompous, ridiculous or dishonest characters are showed in the clown or buffoon. The Cheo stories may be romantic or tragic. A couple of buffoons can appear on stage the master in a flowing gown and his servant in a short coat and carrying a stick, each speaking the language and behaving in the ways of his class. In the right at the initial scene of a play, the buffoon carries a torch or a megaphone and provokes wild laughter of the audience. A comic portrayal is presented by the clowns, with ridiculous, satirical words and gestures.

Without a stage, a Cheo play can not be completed. On the stage of a large theater, the play could be put, but it could be performed successfully on one or two bed mats spread in the middle of a communal house. The Cheo drum was traditionally used like a church bell with magical sounds.  Upon hearing, the villagers do not miss the chance to see the play. The character’s costumes, make- up and gestures are very simple and dependent on each play’s character.

Cheo is considered the oldest and most popular folk music. For a long time ago, it had a very important role in Vietnamese cultural life. Nowadays, Cheo has changed a lots, it should be reserved as it is one of the worth Vietnamese culture life. It attracts not only Vietnamese people but the foreign spectators as well.

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