Tai Tu Music performed on boat - Mekong delta floating market tour

Tai Tu Music – a cultural specialty of Mekong Delta

Tai Tu music takes its pride and noble honor when it is recognized as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity by UNESCO in 2013.

Tai Tu music has become an indispensable experience when tourists come to this land where sons of Mekong Delta River gave birth to this traditional music about 100 years ago, and has been passed down from generations to generations until present. Known as a musical art with both scholar and folk roots, Tai Tu music developed from the late 19th century in Southern Vietnam is an essential part of the spiritual and cultural activity of the people that evokes the residents’ life and their work on their own land and in the overall Mekong Delta region. Tai Tu music is a type of art that is combination of singing and conventional musical instruments formed by an exclusive orchestra of including “dan tranh, dan kim, dan ty ba, dan co, dan bau, ong tieu, song loan”. Furthermore, people in the South play this amateur singing kind at numerous events such as joyful festivals, death anniversary rituals, and celebratory social events when the audience can join in through practicing, making comments or creating new words for those songs because each song may have various word versions.

Arts usually require performers to be professional and skillful, and Tai Tu music is not an exception as well. However, unlike royal music concerts, Tai Tu music is raised to take pleasure whose listeners are neighbors, friends, and family members. In addition, guests can enjoy Tai Tu music anywhere, anytime when you are at lush fruits orchards, homestay or on the wooden boat moving along the water-stream. The stage also is simple when singers can present on just a mat, around the tea table and anywhere else for gathering other members. In particular, in a full day Mekong delta tour to visit Cai Be floating market, you can sit on boat and listen to Tai Tu Music.

Tai Tu Music performed on boat - Mekong delta floating market tour

Tai Tu Music performed on boat

With the gracious honor granted by UNESCO, Vietnam expects to raise respect of all locals for a valuable form of performance, encourage the community to recognize the value, and to voluntarily take part in practicing, developing, passing on and preserving this intangible heritage. It is also hoped to strengthen community solidity and promote the cultural identity through musical exchanges. Besides, the music is not only a featured value of Mekong Delta region but it also has a strong influence on other local areas and some foreign countries such as USA, France, The Netherlands, Australia, etc. Local residents in Mekong Delta are so proud of the music for it is the birthplace of famous artists with immortal songs that they have been keeping and developing it as best as they can.

In a nutshell, ancient music in general and Tai Tu music in particular with nonstop improvement has remarkable characteristics thanks to the dedicated preservation of locals here in Mekong Delta region. All are wonderfully intellectual labor outcomes that highlight the outstanding values of ancient music.

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