Bac Ninh works to promote the value of Quan Ho folk singing
Update: Dec 11, 2023
Since UNESCO’s recognition of Quan Ho folk singing as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2009, Bac Ninh Province has effectively implemented many programmes and activities to preserve and promote the values of Quan Ho melodies to domestic and foreign tourists.

A performance of Quan Ho singing (Photo:

To attend a session of Quan Ho singing, performers not only learn by hearts the lyrics of several hundred songs but also master singing and performing skills.

Quan Ho singing performances are often staged during festivals. In Bac Ninh Province, which is home to more than 540 traditional festivals, melodies of Quan Ho echo across the villages in all four seasons.

Not only being delivered at traditional festivals, Quan Ho singing is now also performed at arts programme celebrating holidays such as the National Day and Lunar New Year, attracting the participation of many Quang Ho singing clubs from both inside and outside the province.

These events have provided opportunities for the club members exchange and learn experience from each other, thus improving their performing and singing skills.

On the occasion of the National Day holiday this year, Nhi Ha Traditional Quan Ho Singing Club in Hanoi and Duong Xa Quan Ho Singing Club in Bac Ninh Province held a cultural exchange in Bac Ninh Province.

Male vocalist Nguyen Tuan Hung, Vice Chairman of Nhi Ha Quan Ho Singing Club, said that the event helped the club members learn more about the meaning of the lyrics in Qua Ho songs as well as the techniques in each genre of Quan Ho singing.

There are more than 400 Quan Ho song lyrics, sung with 213 different melody variations

In an effort to bring Quan Ho closer to the public, since August 2017, Bac Ninh province has hosted regular programmes on performing Quan Ho singing on boats on holidays and New Year Festivals, which have left a deep impression on both domestic and foreign tourists.

Tong Van Hai, a visitor from Ho Chi Minh City said that he really enjoys the melodies of Bac Ninh’s Quan Ho folk singing.

“I found it very interesting to watch live performances of Quan Ho singing as before each song, the audience is given an introduction, helping them to understand more about the unique values of Quan Ho singing.”

Meanwhile, Hyeon from the Republic of Korea, who is currently working in Bac Ninh Province, said that by listening to Quan Ho songs, he learned more about the land, people, and culture of Bac Ninh Province.

Along with stating Quan Ho performances on boats, Bac Ninh Province has also brought melodies of Quan Ho into the stages of the walking street in the locality.

Visitors to the walking street area can take part in various folk games such as 'O an quan' (mandarin square capturing), beating drums while blind-folded, and bamboo pole.

There are also spaces displaying Dong Ho folk paintings, the art of calligraphy, traditional crafts, and typical products of Bac Ninh.

Starting from only 44 Quan Ho villages and 34 clubs, Bac Ninh now has 150 villages practicing Quan Ho and nearly 400 clubs with more than 10,000 members, including 140 clubs established outside the provinces as well as those launched abroad by Overseas Vietnamese communities.

Quan Ho folk songs are performed as alternating verses between two women from one village who sing in harmony, and two men from another village who respond with similar melodies, but with different lyrics.

The women traditionally wear distinctive large round hats and scarves; the men’s costumes include turbans, umbrellas and tunics.

There are more than 400 song lyrics, sung with 213 different melody variations, express people’s emotional states of longing and sadness upon separation, and the happiness of lovers when meeting each other, but custom forbids marrying a singing partner.

NDO - - September 8, 2023