Outside the Ca Tru Thang Long Guilds life unfolds as usual in the busy Old Quarter; inside this beautifully restored ancient home, however, the melodies and surroundings move at the pace of 15th Century Northern Court entertainment. Ca Tru has existed for over 10 centuries. At its base are poetry and music comprised of many melodies sung in a singing and reciting style. Performances, part of UNESCO cultural heritage, are at 8pm on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
Initially Ca Tru served royal and religious functions but was later prominent in weddings, banquets and informal gatherings. The principal musical instruments of Ca Tru were bamboo castanets. Audience participation was key; spectators accompanied the singer by beating on drums. The sound of Ca Tru originates from the Red River delta in northern Vietnam. Today, Vietnamese PhD Tran Van Khe is usually credited with the revival and growing international interest in Ca Tru.