Folk songs in Quang Ninh‘s sea areas are divided into several distintive genres such as “đúm” singing or a kind of love-exchange singing, sea chanty, Cheo singing and wedding singing performed on the boat. Of which, wedding singing and Cheo are those which show the most fundamental characteristics of Quang Ninh fishermen.
Cheo singers often stand on different boats to sing out in the large space of the sea; the way of singing seems to be quite slow and somewhat romantic.
The lyrics of these songs stem from a wide range of traditional folk songs which tell tales about the conventional customs and festivals of the local fishing community and the love for nature and history.
Love-exchange singing at the gate of Bach Dang river
Audiences also find the melodies attractive with a variety of emotional states, from happiness to sorrow for example, which seem like singers are opening their hearts to the immense waterface.
Unlike strong sea chanty in some Central provinces, this type of folk music in Quang Ninh appears to be smooth and tormenting. These songs have helped many fishing residents become friends and couples.
Artist Nguyen Van Huu teaches fishing residents how to sing folk songs.
Artists who still remember a huge quantity of sea folk songs in Quang Ninh include Nguyen Van Huu, Nguyen Van Dau, Le Van Linh, Le Van Be, Pham Thi Thanh, Ngo Dang Nhuan, Vu Thi Dang, Nguyen Van Hoa, Nguyen Huu Luong, Tran Phung, Luong Ngoc Mai, Nguyen Thi Mui, Vu Thi Em, Nguyen Thi Ty, Bui Thi Mai, Nguyen Thi Phai, Pham Thi Hien and so forth. Unfortunately, some of them passed away before finding the new generation who can inherit these precious cultural treasures.
A number of projects have been implemented with a view to preserving this distinctive culture. For example, the Halong Bay Management Boad established a love-exchange singing team performing regularly in Halong Bay, some folk researchers published fascinating collections of folk songs. These projects have been highly appreciated and expected to be improved in the future.