For the first time, an advanced training course in the art of Xam (a music genre performed by blind artists) has been held in Hanoi from August 18 to 21.

 Three little Xam singers of Ha Thi Cau Club from Ninh Binh Province perform at the class. Photos: Tra My

The course brings together leading artists and music researchers associated with folk music and Xam singing such as People’s Artist Xuan Hoach, People’s Artist Thanh Ngoan, and People’s Artist Thuy Ngan, artist Mai Tuyet Hoa, and researcher-musician Nguyen Quang Long, among others.

Trainees are 40 artists of different ages from 20 Xam clubs and troupes from provinces and cities across the country.

This special program is organized by the Thien Tam Foundation in collaboration with the Centre for Conservation and Promotion of Traditional Music.

“From the past to the present, from the present to the future, the invisible thread of time keeps connecting people who share the passion for the Xam singing,” musician Nguyen Quang Long said.

“There was a time when Xam was about to be forgotten. However, with enthusiasm, the veteran artists of Xam music have gradually revived this traditional art form, restoring its lyrics and melodies,” Long added.

At the training course, Xam singers hoped that one day not far away, Xam singing would not only be recognized as a national intangible heritage but also be inscribed on UNESCO’S Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.

“Veteran artists and researchers of Xam always dreamed of classes like this which draws the participation of a large number of students from many provinces,” People’s Artist Xuan Hoach said.

Recently, Xuan Hoach and music researcher Nguyen Quang Long have successfully restored the lost song “Xam Thap An” (Ten Things to Pay Gratitude) composed by Nguyen Van Nguyen, a prominent Xam artist of Hanoi in the mid-twentieth century.

Along with the efforts to revive the Xam singing by passionate researchers and artists, the Thien Tam Foundation has contributed financial support for many years to encourage Xam lovers to keep on with this unique art.

In 2019, the foundation sponsored the organization of the first festival of Northern Xam Club in the northern province of Ninh Binh in 2019. In addition, it also financially supports 11 Xam singing clubs in organizing free Xam teaching classes to spread the love of Xam to young people.

The foundation will continue to accompany Ninh Binh Province to organize Ninh Binh Xam Singing Festival 2022 on September 16-18.

 People’s Artist Xuan Hoach speaks in the class.