Ca Tru is an ancient northern Vietnamese vocal music traditional performance.
At first listening, Vietnam’s traditional music forms can stretch the less agile tonal repertoire of the average western ear. Ca tru’s vocal gymnastics can be an especially challenging experience. But if you enjoy exploring world music and traditional music, don’t miss a performance of Ca Tru.
Ca Tru is native to Vietnam’s north and dates back more than 1000 years to the Ly dynasty. It was especially popular with the royal court and feudal elites and has been passed down through the centuries orally.
There are thought be less than 100 Ca Tru melodies in existence and the art is considered an endangered “intangible cultural heritage” by UNESCO. Hanoi Ca Tru Club gathers in a traditional house each Wednesday, Friday and Sunday evening for an hour long performance that includes Ca Tru as well as some other indigenous singing and instrumentation. There’s also a short but interesting presentation on the musical styles and the instruments used.
Most nights feature singer Bach Van, one of the finest exponents of the Ca Tru singing style. She’s also the host and explains that Ca Tru is an endangered musical form as few young people are ready to undertake the rigorous decade of vocal training required to master it.
Another Ca Tru venue is located nearby at 87 Ma May St in the old quarter. Performances are held here at 8pm on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
Ca Tru traditional music performance, Hanoi
A: 42 Hang Bac St, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
Entrance Fee: 200,000VND
Opening hours: Wednesday, Friday and Sunday 8pm