Xam Singing

Xam singing has been handed from generation to generation for many years. Hat Xam, or the strain of the blind artists, has existed in the Tran dynasty (13th century). It is said that a children of King Tran Thanh Tong is Tran Quoc Dinh invented it. According to this legend, the King was extremely kindly, frank and had love of his population. They are taught the way to play the instruments and sing to release hardships in their life.

Main traits

In old days, in the countryside, it is easy to hear “Hat Xam” or “Xam singing”. Xam songs used to be sung by blind minstrels who went in a group of 2-3 or 4-5 members, mostly the same family, and performed at the open crowded places. The optimism and love for the blind was expressed in the Hat Xam’s songs. Ninh Binh, Hai Duong, Nam Dinh. Bac Giang, Hanoi…are the main places setting the Sam singing. For many years ago, Xam singing was performed in the leisure period of the harvest crops.  Xam troupes were invited to come and perform in the villages so that their families could enjoy their repertoire of music. During the war times or poor crops, it is actually difficult for the Sam singer to have enough money to life   so they must come to many places to sing for a better income.  They often choose big cities such as Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City.  The stages of the Sam singers are trams, car station, market and street corner.  Many kinds of musical instruments were played as drum, castanets, Nhi Co fiddle, Bau mono. All are sung together with Southern or Northern accent. The audiences often hand the Xam singers some money after their well performing with the purpose to encourage them.

The Xam’s new style was developed from the basic of the traditional forerunner in countryside and was performed by street artists.

Where to catch a show in Hanoi?

Hanoi’s Old Quarter is a ideal place for those people who want to enjoy Vietnam’s traditional art, should do wandered along it, such as Hang Ngang, Hang Dao. You can find and have chances to enjoy a Xam singing performances.

Due to the several of Xam’s lyrics with merry sound of music, it attracts the audience very much. Nowadays, Xam singing has been preserved and developed, it becomes an outstanding feature of Vietnam’s culture.

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