- Excellency Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung,
- Distinguished artists and artisans,
- Comrades and friends,
On 11 February, a ceremony was held in Ho Chi Minh city to honor the UNESCO’s inscription of Don Ca Tai Tu in the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. This is a pride for all of us in Viet Nam and Particularly for people in the Southern provinces, but it also makes it incumbent upon us to work harder to preserve and uphold the invaluable heritages passed on by our ancestors to future generations, even with blood and tears shed, as an evidence of their great affection, belief and expectation in the future of our Nation.
Today, in Bac Lieu, the land renowned as the cradle of Don Ca Tai Tu – the traditional musical art of the South, the First National Festival on Don Ca Tai Tu is held as a tribute to our ancestors and to those individuals and organizations who have devoted heart and mind to the creation, preservation and promotion of this very unique, ordinary and simple yet refined and intellectual art form.
The Festival is the biggest activity of its kind in response to the National Action Plan on Preservation and Development of Don Ca Tai Tu – the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. It indicates the tangible efforts to preserve and uphold national cultural heritage values – a key mandate in the Strategy for Cultural Development, and to sustain the Vietnamese character, Vietnamese soul and Vietnamese fortitude which are crucial elements in the cause of construction and defense of our socialist Fatherland.
The Festival will give momentum for Bac Lieu province to advance its development policy based on the cultural premise. It is also an opportunity for Vietnamese and international friends to be infused with love and passion from the Southern land and people. These feelings would strengthen our pledge and responsibility to join hands and work together for a better life of the Southern people, those who with the personality of diligence, faithfulness, courage and humanism have pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to the cause of our nation and deserve a more prosperous and happy life.
Thanks to efforts by the provincial Party Committee, government and people, Bac Lieu today is no longer a poor village, a “misfortune, rustic low-lying land surrounded by rivers filled with “chốt” fish and Teochew residents”, it is no longer popular only for the reputation of the “Madarin’s Son”. Bac Lieu today, apart from infinite rice fields, criss-cross canals filled with sampans and endless rivers always echoing heart-felt sounds and lyrical melodies, is developing day by day with large concrete roads, factories and huge wind turbines, something people could not think of only a few decades ago. The simple, honest and courageous sons and daughters Bac Lieu have mastered and brought into full play their knowledge and creativity to introduce initatives and innovations for their daily life and production, striving for a prosperous future of their homeland.
The heart-rending sounds and lyrics composed by the late musician and artisan Cao Van Lau together with the 20 original works of Don Ca Tai Tu have been spreading widely among the public thanks to the application of new audio-visual technology and electronic communication. However, this also presents a daunting challenge on how to conserve the sole character of Don Ca Tai Tu, reflected in its impromptu and hightlight of justice true to the “dilettante” nature of this unique art form.
We congratulate the people of the land of immense orchards and infinite rivers for being successfully integrated into the mainstream of human civilization not only as the beneficiary but also as the creator and advocator of mankind’s common values. It is fascinating to recognize that the intangible cultural heritages of humanity have, from time to time, originated from very rustic, sincere and simple things.
We commend Bac Lieu and the Southern region for its robust development and advocate its efforts towards the enhancement of its people’s spiritual and cultural life. Let us work together to infuse the spirit and value of Don Ca Tai Tu into the stream of Vietnamese cultural quintessence and mankind’s heritage treasures. Let us have strong belief in bright future of the land of courageous and resilient people. Let us join hands together to promote the cause of building and defense of the Vietnamese Fatherland based on our deepest respect and gratitude to our ancestors and highest responsibility to the future generations.
I wish you all good health, happiness and success.
May I wish great success for the First National Festival on Don Ca Tai Tu – Bac Lieu 2014.
Translated by Viet Thu