|Photo © Tewfic El-Sawy | All Rights Reserved|
The illustration depicts a typical Ca Trù performance, with a female singer playing the phach (a bamboo bar beaten with small wooden sticks), accompanied by a man playing the dan day, a long-necked, three-string lute used exclusively for this art form. It also features a judge (left) who strikes a drum in praise or disapproval of the singer’s performance, usually done after every passage of the song.
In 2015, I attended a number of these Ca Trù performances in an old house in the center of Hanoi's Old Quarter. I was granted permission to photograph at will from various corners of the 'stage', which resulted in The Ancient Art of Ca-Tru galley.