Their activities have not only brought about specific material value but have also become spiritual drugs to encourage people nationwide to overcome their difficulties.

Xam singing (ballads sung by wandering blind musicians) is a folk art form with lyrics and melodies that are relevant to the public. Members of the Ha Thanh Xam singing troupe have used this unique art form to promote the prevention and control of Covid-19. A Xam song titled “Wiping out corona”, which was composed by musician Nguyen Thanh Long in late March, has quickly become popular. Based on traditional melodies, the lyrics express the “atmosphere” of the fight against the epidemic. The song also features “instructions” on how to prevent and control the disease in a witty manner as well as reminding people of the stories about people in quarantine areas. In addition, the song’s content shows the consensus of the whole people nationwide during the battle against Covid-19.

The song was performed by artists Mai Tuyet Hoa, Van Phuong, Nguyen Quang Long, Pham Dung and Ngoc Xuan. Just a few days following its release on Youtube, the song “Wiping out corona” has attracted nearly 18,000 views as well as having been shared on many social networking sites and e-newspapers.

The Xam Ha Thanh troupe, which was formed by musician Nguyen Quang Long and artist Mai Tuyet Hoa, has conducted activities to restore the beauty of the traditional Xam singing. The troupe has also created many songs on traffic culture, Hanoi’s beauty and pressing social issues. Artist Mai Tuyet Hoa shared: “Since it was born, Xam singing has become an art form of the people because it is very familiar. Therefore, it has the greater advantage of conveying messages on current issues. The Covid-19 epidemic is a big problem for the whole society. Therefore, we composed the song, recorded and released it. We hope that it can contribute to the fight against the disease”.

The prevention and control of Covid-19 is the responsibility of the whole community. Both professional and amateur artists have joined numerous anti-epidemic activities. The Urban Sketcher Hanoi group has created a strong reaction in the community through the programme “A 14-day challenge”. Urban Sketcher Hanoi now has 5,300 members on Facebook. Since it was launched, the programme has attracted hundreds of participants to paint over 14 consecutive days. The paintings have been sent to the organising board for further selection. They featured stories about families during these social distancing days as all members in a family exercise at home and sing songs to encourage hand washing and the children study via television.

There were also paintings featuring touching images of doctors saving the lives of patients or people donating food to support doctors. Many art works highlighted the quiet streets, beautiful houses and trees in beloved Hanoi. Different perspectives on the capital city have motivated people to overcome the difficulties caused by the epidemic. While all people stay at home to practice social distancing, the paintings have spread on social networks. Architect Tran Thi Thanh Thuy, a founder of Urban Sketcher Hanoi, said that the programme was expected to help people keep calm, believe in themseleves, nuture their love and passion and hope for better times.

Urban Sketcher Hanoi expects to organise an auction of paintings with half the proceeds donated to the prevention and control of Covid-19. Many other painters and groups of painters have conducted auctions of their paintings to collect money to support the fight against the epidemic.

The artists’ activities have become spiritual drugs as well as having created material value in order to help the whole community overcome current difficulties.