Uncle Ba Phi

Uncle Ba Phi’s real name is Nguyen Long Phi (1884 – 1964), who was a farmer in Tran Van Thoi district, Ca Mau province. Despite a hard life, he had to go reclaiming virgin soil, doing the gardening by day; he often joined “don ca” teams by night. He was loved by neighbors for his singing voice and respected for his cheerful, free-spoken, brave characters, especially stories and his way to tell stories attractively.

Uncle Ba Phi died on March 03rd, 1964 in U Minh Ha forest, now Duong Ranh village, Khanh Hai commune, Tran Van Thoi district, Ca Mau province. His grave was located between two graves of two of his wives: Mrs. Ba Lu and Mrs. Cham in Duong Ranh village, Khanh Hai commune, Tran Van Thoi district, Ca Mau province.


In the stories of Uncle Ba Phi, cheerful laughter closely associated with the fields, birds, trees, etc have a high art value such as Nep deo, Cop xay lua, Bat Chim Sen, Choi da lam may bay roi, Leo cay ot te gay chan, Le le tap the duc, Tau rua chay nhanh nhu tau may, Ran ho may tat nuoc dia bat ca, etc. To preserve and promote the intangible cultural values of Uncle Ba Phi’s stories, Ca Mau province People’s Committee has recognized the Memorial Park of Artisan Nguyen Long Phi (Uncle Ba Phi) as a provincial historic relic on May 28th, 2015.


Currently, Uncle Ba Phi’s house and grave have been included in cultural tourism of Ca Mau province. His stories are mostly oral but raise listeners’ cheerful laughs, quite magniloquent and very unique. Uncle Ba Phi’s stories have really contributed to folklore treasures of South Vietnam. Simultaneously, it also hides the magnanimous sense of land exploration pioneers, featured personality and love of nature and humans of people of South Vietnam.

 Nguyen Tuyen

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