Sweet Then melodies in basalt land

Monday, 2019-02-04 08:51:20
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Meritorious Artisan Nong Van Huu has received many certificates of merit.
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NDO – Whenever the sound of a Tinh gourd lute in harmony with the raspy, sweet and warm Then songs (a unique folk art practiced by Tay and Nung ethnic groups) resounds among the forests in the Central Highlands, ethnic minority people of the Tay, Nung, Kinh, E De, and M’Nong come closer together.

Meritorious Artisan Nong Van Huu, a Tay ethnic minority peeson originated from Cao Bang, is the head of Nam Dong Then singing Club in Cu Jut district, Dak Nong province. He used Then songs and Tinh flute to bring pleasure and connect the local people together.

Artisans like Nong Van Huu encouraged villagers in Dak Nong and Dak Lak provinces to form Then singing groups to exchange during Tet (Lunar New Year) days. Then tunes have become songs for children’s lullabies and mediation for the bickering in the daily lives of local people.

Considering Tinh flute and Then songs as the breath of life over half a century, artisan Nong Van Huu realised that the sound of the flute depicts people’s heart and minds. In more than 200 Then songs composed by himself, all words bear positive meanings. He and the other artisans think that the beauty, affection and gratitude can defeat the bad.

Tinh flute is regarded as an instrument bestowed by heaven. It accompanies Then songs to create a special harmony, making life more pleasurable and happier. People who learn Then singing and way to play Tinh flute will learn the virtue and courtesy in the behaviour among families and ethnic groups.

Normally, from the 25th day of the last lunar month, Then songs highlighting the beauty of spring and praising the country echoeverywhere. So far, over 100 Tay, Nung and E De people have learnt dozens of Then songs by heart so that they can teach their relatives. Every day, Dam Thi Tuyen, deputy head of Nam Dong Then Club, performs Then singing and teaches other residents, particularly younger generations for a few hours.

Then songs by Nam Dong Club’s members have not only been performed at spring festivals but are also popular around the country. The song‘Khuc tam tinh Dac Nong’ (The confession of Dak Nong) that was created and performed by the Club won the B prize at the second National Tinh flute Festival in Cao Bang.

Realising the power of the spiritual encouragement of Then melodies, artisan Nong Van Huu has taught and instructed hundreds of farmers on how to find addresses and emails of many well-known Then singing clubs around the country via theinternet to exchange together. He said that many locals were willing to pay money to participate in competitions to improve their skills of playing Tinh flute and Then singing. During Tet festival, the local people are always ready to introduce Then songs to thousands of foreigners travelling to the Central Highlands region, contributing to conveying a beautiful cultural heritage of Vietnam to international friends.

The Central Highlands gathers dozens of ethnic groups, including nearly 3,000 Tay and Nung people coming from the north. Then singing is considered as a special ‘ambassador’ that can enhance the connectivity among the community. Since the Then singing clubs formed, the local people’s spiritual lives have been more pleasurable and richer. From Nam Dong, the Then singing movement has spread to surrounding districts such as Krong No and Dak Min. Nam Dong commune has formed an arts fund to support Then singing artisans. This folk genre has also been added to the extracurricular programmes at schools in the commune.

Artisan Nong Van Huu recalled that about ten years ago, sometimes his house was crowded with many women from various communes who carried coconut shells and wooden handles to ask me to make Tinh flutes. They also asked for copies of many Then songs about the love and family happiness to sing for their husbands and children in spring nights as well as hard times.