Relay of Phượng Ca, Oslo, Norway

Relay of Phượng Ca of the traditional music’s classes in Oslo, Norway


For the first time in capital Oslo of Norway, the Center Vietnor, an association proposing of the activities for young Vietnameses whose president is our friend Tống Lê Hùng, opened a programme of traditional music of , under the direction of Mrs. Phương Oanh, professor of traditional music from . The program was subsidized by the government by the means of the assistance to the children and families.



The class of "đàn tranh" of the group Phượng Ca was officially open the 17/03/2001. The class is made up children from 6 to 11 years, parents of 25 at more or less 40 years. Another class was especially moved in for the small ones of 2 years and half at 5 years.


The program is divided into 3 sessions. The pupils will be directed by the professor a weekend, the three remaining weeks they will move between them.

first session during March :


The first day of training of the class proceeded in the Vietnor center. The center was rented in rooms of the Red Cross (


). For the training, this afternoon, Vietnor used all the rooms of the 1st stage.


The class "đàn tranh" proceeded with the living room, the class of the children in the room of opposite, smallest in another room. In short, not a room was left empty by Vietnor this afternoon.

After having to adjust and grant the cords for 20 musical instruments, the pupils were separate in age and level. The class immediately started afterwards, it is necessary to tame the notes of music, the place of the cords on the instrument, how to thread the plectrum, and especially how to carry the instrument after as well years of waiting, daring only to dream some and never believed as one day the dream will have become reality.

The timetable comprises the study of the instrument "đàn tranh", the drawing (for the whole small) and the traditional song. From 14h, after having to grant the cords, the class of the parents begins. The small ones wisely sat and make drawing while waiting for their turn. So occupied by the study, nobody realized last time. Small which waits the their hour start to appear loudly to claim their course.



    The following day, the classes began with 10h, last once before their professor does not take again the plane to turn over to . This morning of Sunday was difficult for the initial pupils who learn the instrument for the first time. But for those which already handled the instrument, the course has seemed more interesting, with a professor with the experiments confirmed for several years of teaching, especially which they could look further into and better appreciate the traditional music.

This first session was marked by the inexperience of the young pupils and the parents having never played of no musical instrument. At the beginning, they are found in a new situation because none does not know how will be held their course, especially that it has there only 15 "đàn tranh" for a double request for inscriptions to the courses.

Having experience to teach far from


, our professor could create an environment of confidence, curiosity for sufficiently encouraging and giving self-confidence to the pupils to follow and to be assiduous to the courses. Another importance is that if the pupils respect the schedules of drive in residence, each day of 15-20 minutes, then they will obtain a result more satisfactory than to learn several hours but only one time per week.

    Time passes very quickly, and already the courses arrived in the long term, the professor must gain the plane quickly. The pupils still remained on their hunger which they did not want to leave the course. Appointment thus with the next time to be able to still live in the light and crystalline environment of the sound of "đàn tranh" and of the traditional song carrying full with human love.

second session of the 14 and 15/04 :


    It always snows in Oslo in April, looking at the snow-covered hills and the weather is always cold compared to


. But the pupils have only to make cold, and snow, they are present classifies some very early in advance…

    The class today was moved in in a new larger room, at the ground floor. The small ones have a larger gaming room, while waiting for their turn to attend the course…

    Without experiments, the pupils are not prepared when the professor did not arrive yet. They await the professor without leaving their instrument to learn how to grant it and repeat the already learned courses. The professor arrived whereas the instruments did not even leave their bag yet, thus losing about thirty minutes…

    Although there is already a person in charge administrative in our sister Ái for the class, it was necessary to indicate a second nobody to help the class to revise while waiting for the presence of the professor. Our sister Phi Thuyền was indicated by our professor Oanh to push the pupils to be repeated. Thus it responsible principal for the class of music is indicated. The class then seems to be organized and resembles more one class of music. Thus one wastes less time.

    Today, there are pupils already registered with the last time, but which could not attend the first courses, then it takes time to teach them the basic lessons. After having understood the operating principle of teaching in group of the class, all could play together in rhythm. The hour reserved for the parents overflowed of much immediately of the children. Although they are obliged to learn, the class of the parents remained wise, without demonstration on the schedule… Because when they could find a place to learn, they could see that to be able to play of the instrument "đàn tranh" it is all an important training which it is necessary to have.

    In session there is the teaching one, after it is necessary to be involved during a whole month, if a pupil misses a joint course, it loses many guiding principles which should be acquired. To involve itself with the "đàn tranh", with share to appreciate the sound soft, silky, the pupil must have courage to follow the schedules established so that the lessons given lead to a convincing result. If he wants to achieve this goal, he must apply in a way right the lessons in class, so that at his place he can involve himself in such a manner that its fingers are light, flexible, and precis when they touch the cords to obtain a clear sound, and still it should be learned how to count the rhythm, to read the notes…A whole panoply of work required, if it manages to keep these principles the result will be with the height, and it will have progressed.

    After two meetings with professor, saturdays evening some are still awkward (for those which are involved for the first time), Sunday morning, all awoke and took confidence well by gripping the cords, because they could mix with the others in a quiet way.

Oslo with : Phi Thuyền, Tiến, Nga, Phượng, Ái, Kim Chi, Quỳnh Như, the children Duy, Mi, Trâm, Niềm.


Zesniem with : Triều, Phượng, Thanh, Cường, the children Vi Vi, Thùy Vi, Bảo, Vi Vân, Vi Lan, Lan Nhi, Thùy Linh, Vi Dung.

Exceptional course of the session of the 26 to the 29/04/2001:

    According to the words of our brother Tống Lê Hùng, the Coordination of the young people of all will hold a regular meeting at the weekend of the 29/04. This meeting of associations which are occupied of the young people and less young people is very important. Under the presence of the ministry for the young people and representatives of associations and organizations. This year is the second year, Vietnor officially took part like observant association meeting there.


    The decisions, the work programmes of the young people, for the culture for the majority are financed by this organization. Brother Hùng as informed as the financing for the classes results also from this organization, and it hopes, than the class of music (if that may be) for association will be able to make a representation for the night of the end of the meeting a program of music "đàn tranh".


    After discussions in the group, our sister professor
Phương Oanh agreed to return to


the following week to involve the class for the representation. Since the meeting finishes the evening of Friday, Phương Oanh will have to be in Oslo on the flight of the afternoon of Thursday, so that the evening even, the pupils can involve once, and Friday morning they will have time for a second drive, and third once before the representation.

    After the evening meal of the children, everyone prepares to go until the


place of the representation. Since the seat of association, it is necessary to spend 40 minutes in the car. The mile of the meeting is a unit being in forest, beside a beautiful fountain. Arrived on the spot, the pupils prepare to change costumes.

Lessons 1, 2, 3 were well learned and repeated seriously by the children, at the beginning it was laid down the 2 smallest children representing, 2 young people and 2 parents for the more bigger. But at the end, sitted in front of representatives of the organizations of the ministry for the young people, not only there are 8 pupils as envisaged, but 16 pupils of any age.

The program comprises only 10 minutes of representation, but our friend Hùng said that all this duration has a great value. The representatives of the organizations were surprised by girls with the "đàn tranh" and equipped in traditional costume the "áo dài" Vietnamese, and even more surprised, by smaller with longer instruments, larger than their size arriving on the scene. The piece of music simple of the class which has only two months of existence, showed with the ministry that Vietnor association is worthy of confidence. The financing resulting from the ministry, Vietnor used advisedly, in the good place, and in a good opportunity.

The pupils were applauded and congratulated by all the whole of people present. By leaving the mile of the representation, the children in spite of tiredness because it is more than 11 p.m., are all happy and proud, they could on the spot carry out a good cause for the culture Vietnamese. We were especially moved by small Lan Nhi, Thùy Vi, Duy, some are sick but refuse to remain at the house, carrying with them the drugs, that their mom managed to them when they had a crisis, and others still do not hold places from there, their professor Oanh was to quarrel them there, then they were positioned back quickly, sang extremely with open large eyes and the mouth. In these moments, these angels sang with passion, not having shame because they forgot that they are… toothless…

Saturday morning, general rest for everyone, Quốc Thanh and professor Phương Oanh were brought by our sister Phượng, a pupil, and also mom of a small pupil, with going to make a turn of visit of


to see the landscape of the city. The specificity of


is that it is a city made up of small islands scattered, its population must borrow the boat to connect the firm ground. Boats which take along people since small islands like the bus or subway to


. To buy a ticket, to go up on the boat, and to make a turn of the small islands then find the port take approximately 30 minutes. Thus pupils and professors could make a turn, sitted in the boat, looking at the waves raising itself, imagining to sail on a lake, the life is quite quiet and light.

The hour had just joined the center and the courses, then go to next for the port… This afternoon of Saturday, there was a course replacing that of May, and still at the request of our Cường brother, the class learned the music all while being involved for a representation the following day for the week of meeting to the church where they go for their faith…

    The small ones today had class before the parents, learning the continuation from the course N° 4, and also the song… a new word in the piece "Flowers Scented and Butterflies flying away".. ‘butterflies flying away in fact butterflies ohé fly’…. it is all, but they must learn how with good to sing it, while singing extremely, rythmant for their professor, because… sat and handling the instruments but this piece, it never learned.

    At the hour of the joint course, the dads had to keep their children so that the moms can be with the course. The class of "đàn tranh" comprises too many participants thus the number of instruments is insufficient, the moms must be satisfied with another instrument the "đàn nguyệt", to be able to follow the course beside their offspring.

    What made laugh but made also charming, it is that the small ones have just sat down for the course, already shouted towards their mom to find the books fixing their feet. The moms, the hands holding their instrument, while intending to shout their children wanted to move to do their work. But professor Oanh takes care by prohibiting the moms to serve their darlings. Because there is a condition, to be able to follow the courses, to be on the row on scene, to be recruited with the representations it is necessary to have sat the right back and the legs cross. Then all had to try to cross the legs, stopping shouting towards their mom. Because… if those which do not manage to cross their legs, do not take part in representations. Even those which are flexible, will not have right to be on scene…

    There does not exist yet of classes of music as special as here, because all the family takes part, to have sat in the same course, a tradition was transmitted without discontinuous between generations. By looking at the small ones involving themselves with passion, forgetting the difficulty of the sitting position that at the beginning still feeling sorry for because not managing to cross their legs. Our professor Oanh in took pleasure and does not regret having to forsake its own family, leaving Paris a weekend while having still full with work to regulate.

    Three days passed, the hours of training of the instrument were classified priority, at each free time everyone is invited to take their instrument, with the professor at their side, each one learning what it can, without counting the moments, morning like evening. All are impatient, waiting the day of representation to show itself with the entourage, here today, took place a course of traditional music Vietnamese whom our Cường brother went to observe and present at the time of the day of representation at the


. All the spectators were surprised by the number of "đàn tranh" put in scene, believing that the Father succeeded in inviting a group coming besides to play.

    Just after the end of representation of the traditional music, our professor Oanh had to leave the places precipitately because it is the hour to join the plane for






April 2001, Phượng Ca.




N°3 session from the 16 to June 17:


    After almost two months of absence, pupils and professor did not have large thing to tell themselves, with share to revisit the courses. Because everyone, including the small ones, without accompaniment of the professor, almost… all forgot.

    In spite of the recommendations of the professor whom it is necessary to repeat for the cultural day Vietnor of the 22/09/2001. At the school end of the year, some prepared to pass their school’s examinations, some left on holiday, then it is necessary well to take patience… Go is given to September…

Special session from the 7 to September 9:


    After more than two months of holidays, everyone seems to have forgotten the already learned courses.


Arrived to Oslo Friday September 7, arranging the things so that the moms in


can repeat the first, it was necessary to begin again with the whole beginning of the first courses, but quickly each thing returned in its order. The music also starts to be regular, in the rhythm.


At 7 p.m., the course stopped temporarily to make it possible each one to return home so that tomorrow they can be involved in the joint course. Leaving


, the professor followed our friend Hùng to join Zesmèn for a course with this group.

 The house of our friends Cường and Triều was the place of repetition for the class. As the pupils are not far the ones from the others that facilitated the work of the parents, when they must go to deposit and take again their children.   

This evening, before going to repeat, our professor was invited by the wife’s family of our friend Cường to take a meal made up of excellent fresh fish. That was a pleasant rest after the tiredness of the voyage, with the first course of midday. With 9 p.m. of the evening it makes still clearly, the children prepared the pieces of music, their "đàn tranh", then the professor did not have to waste time to make the call. All seriously followed the course and interested because the day of representation approach.

    The first course was for the small ones of 5, 6 years. Then it is the turn of the older girls with their parents. The small ones are balked not to be able to prolong their course, because the pieces which their parents repeat are with their range although they play them less quickly…. But that they want or not, the small ones must also make the effort to do what the professor Oanh entrusted to them, without any possible negotiation. It makes already late, they must go to the bed so that tomorrow they will be able to repeat together with the musical group of



September 8:

Today it is Saturday, it is day of rest of the school then the small ones could follow their professor Oanh to


to meet their friends. Meeting, the beginning was conversations without end between buddies as if that made a long time that they were not seen. Then they are divided into group to repeat before finding together again for the program of representation.

Each time like always, it takes 15 minutes for the pupils to remind the basic lessons of the "đàn tranh", if not some will not be on the level for the fingering, the rhythm… and thus they will have lost everything. It is necessary to revisit the lessons of class, the pieces for the representation, everyone put its energy there to play. The pieces "Meets dragon and tiger", "the country Mother", "Scented Flowers and Butterflies flying away" today are agreeably repeated, pretty to hear. By listening to the joint class, our professor seems to be satisfied, by seeing that its work and its energy deployed for its classes are at least rewarded.

This year, the classes progressed much, having a repertory more packed. Not to lose work of small, professor Oanh had to reflect to learn how to them to dance in more on the pieces of the group of their parents, brothers and sisters.



, our professor maked appointment with our sister Triều for how to learn with small dance which they know already, and which they will dance on the piece "the country Mother" to close the program of representation.

With the profit-sharing and the love for the traditional music, with the spirit of safeguard of their culture, our Vietnamese friends from here succeeded in posing a basic stone for Vietnor, having a class of music Vietnamese, a truly cultural activity for association to prove with the Norwegian government that the Vietnameses living here, were integrated into the Norwegian society while keeping the traditions of their people.

Last session and cultural day of 19 to the 22/09/2001:

    Did the flight of Wednesday September 19 take along our professor Oanh, our friend Quốc Thanh and Mister and Mrs Thành Lễ Hoàng Đình Tuyên to


, for a drive with the representation.


Thanks to two weeks of presence without discontinuous of our professor, the cultural day and the festival of the autumn of Vietnor proceeded as envisaged.

    This year, the address of the representation is in full center of the city. Ideal place to facilitate the arrival of the crowd of everywhere. The spectators come from all . The parents are happy by looking at their children ravelled with lights for the festival of autumn around the garden of the place. After it was the programme of representation of the group Phượng Ca and their classes of "đàn tranh", their new relay in


. Then the fashion parade of the house Thành Lễ attracted girls and young people. With the experiment of an organizer, our friend Hoàng Đình Tuyên on the spot trained the girls of


become of the mannequins gracious, beautiful on the scene. It is the first time that Vietnor association presented a true cultural program for the population of


in general and for the in particular proud Vietnameses of Oslo of their culture of origin.


Phương Oanh.


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