Dong Ngu village in Thuan Thanh district, Bac Ninh province, continues to draw crowds to its water puppet shows.
Its troupe is one of 14 active water puppet troupes in Vietnam with unparalleled mystery, mastery and commitment from its performers.
Dong Ngu water puppetry reflects the humble life of people in northern Vietnam’s Red River delta. Spectators are intrigued by folk tales and “Quan Ho” love duets that are unique to this troupe. The themes include offering betel, going to the pagoda, playing on a swing, and playing the flute while herding buffalos.
Founded in the 10th century and revived in 1958, these water puppet performances have primarily entertained the people of Dong Ngu and nearby villages during festivals. A statue made of jackfruit wood is preserved by the Dong Ngu villagers to honor the founder of local water puppetry.
Villager Nguyen Dang Dung said, “When Vietnam was ravaged by war during the 10th and 11th century, the art fell into neglect. Older villagers started to revive the folk tales again in the 1950s. In the late 1980s, when life had become more stable, we resumed the water puppet performances.”
Puppeteers have donated their own property and tremendous efforts to revive the ancient art, according to Nguyen Thanh Lai, head of the Dong Ngu water puppet troupe.
“We had nothing when we started reviving the art. Some gave us pieces of wood or a whole bamboo tree. Others carved the puppets out of wood and painted them, so that puppeteers could practice and bring them onto the stage,” said Lai.
Dong Ngu villagers travel dozens of times each year to perform and promote their water puppetry and “Quan Ho” love duets to audiences all over Vietnam. Dong Ngu performers control their puppets with both strings and rods, enabling more complicated movements. Their puppets can even crawl on all four limbs. It is the folk tales retold by the water puppet troupe that make it distinct from other troupes.
Nguyen Dang Dung said their passion has fueled a revival of Dong Ngu water puppetry. Dong Ngu puppeteers today have a very hectic schedule telling 200 folk tales using 200 puppets.
Duong Van Giao, the oldest puppeteer in Dong Ngu village, told us, “The puppets differ in size and facial expression. ‘Teu’ – the storyteller water puppet – is always smiling and bigger than the other characters. The puppets who sing ‘Quan Ho’ love duets wear fancy, colorful costumes.”
There are actually two water puppet troupes in Dong Ngu village: Dong Ngu and Luy Lau. Many tour agencies now incorporate Dong Ngu into their tour programs. VOV5
National team players to face draining 2021 run
Multiple domestic and international tournaments will exhaust national team players in the last months of 2021.
After passing the second round of World Cup qualifiers for the first time in history, the national team will have nearly three months to prepare before the third round begins in September. However, during that time gap, the players will continue to partake in domestic and international club tournaments. Many key players of the national team representing Viettel FC and Hanoi FC will go overseas to play the group stage of AFC Champions League and AFC Cup, set to complete by mid-July.
When the players return to Vietnam, they will continue the second phase of V. League from late July to late August. Then, without any rest, they will gather with the national team to prepare for the third World Cup qualifying round that will start on Sept. 2. But that’s not all. After six games of World Cup qualifiers, the players will begin their journey to defend their AFF Cup title, which is set to take place from Dec. 5 to 31.
Therefore, by calculation, national team players might have to play around 18 to 23 matches from late July until this year ends, which will squeeze their stamina to the last drop.
With such a tight schedule, the players can get injured and exhausted, which will directly affect tournament results as well as the goals of Vietnamese football this year. This is a make-or-break situation for the national team, so to ensure the best conditions for players, medical and nutritional care is crucial in keeping the players healthy and charged for the long run. To do that, coordination between clubs and the national team is key.
The pressure on head coach Park Hang-seo will be huge as well. Because aside from the World Cup qualifiers and AFF Cup, he will also have to coach the U22 team at SEA Games 31 to defend their 2019 gold medal.
One suggestion would be sending the national team to compete in the World Cup qualifiers, while the U23 team plus two experienced players play AFF Cup and SEA Games 31. That way, the workload will be reduced for the national team and young players will have the opportunity to gain more international experience.
Coach Park writes encouraging letter to players
After the historic advance to the final World Cup qualifying round, coach Park Hang-seo has sent players a letter of appreciation and encouragement.
“In the last three games of the second round, we have worked together and advanced to the final round of World Cup qualifiers. This has always been our goal and I’m so delighted about it. I want to thank all the players for believing in me, for giving their best effort with the highest spirit and the assistants who have devoted themselves selflessly day and night to support the team, as well as other members that have tried their best to complete the job,” he wrote.
“Let’s always give our best and be proud that you are a part of the team that have written a new chapter in the history of Vietnamese football.”
He asked the players to enjoy the time with their families during this short break, before going back to their World Cup campaign.
They will have much to do in the road ahead, Park said, promising he will try his best to complete his job.
“We will have to prepare for the final round of World Cup qualifiers in September, to face the top teams in Asia. We need to be more focused, physically, mentally and tactically. If we can stay united and keep giving our best, I believe we can achieve our goal.”
In the second round of World Cup qualifiers, Vietnam went unbeaten in seven games before losing to the UAE in the last match. They advanced to the third round as one of the five best second-placed teams.
The Golden Dragons are set to return to training in August to prepare for the third round, which will take place between Sept. 2, 2021 and March 29, 2022.
Concert on 20th century’s musical pieces to be held online
The fourth concert of the “Music of the 20th Century” series will be broadcast live via Facebook page of the Goethe Institut Vietnam on June 28, in a bid to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the institute has announced.
|The banner of the event. (Photo: www.goethe.de)|
The concert series introduces compositions of the 20th and 21st centuries by important living or deceased world-famous composers.
The performers are soloists and lecturers from the Vietnam National Academy of Music and the Inspirito School of Music, notably trumpeter Urushihara Yuki, percussionist Kyle Acuncius, violist Patcharaphan Khumprakob, oboeist Hoang Manh Lam, and pianists Luu Duc Anh and Hoang Ho Thu, among others.
The whole programme promises to be a colourful picture with different styles from many different countries. Starting with Medtners musical style which is strongly influenced by the Romantic tradition, and expanding to very special creations and languages written for the piano by Barber, Ligeti, Ornstein or Japanese composer Hosokawa Toshio.
The soloists of this concerts will in addition explore how modern composers exploit different technique of composing and performing on other instruments such as oboe, trumpet, viola, and percussion or even on a toy piano with works by Goldmann, Vizutti, Hindemith, David Lang and Cangelosi.
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