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22/06/2017 - 10:51

Saving the art of folk songs and folk dances

In the cultural space of the villages in A Luoi, local artistes passionately impart folk songs and folk dances to learners from Pa Ko, Co Tu, Ta Oi... tribes.

Preservation

Every day, as the night falls, the young generations of Hong Trung Commune (A luoi) gathers at the Commune People’s Committee building to learn their traditional dance and music. The lesson is taught free of charge by the local artistes.

Folk songs and dances are the unique activities of the highland life.

The courtyard in fron of the local People’s Committee building is soon filled with songs and dances in harmony with traditional instruments. The folk songs, mostly lullabies, are taught by artiste Ho Van Hanh (72 years old), one of the nine artistes teaching the class. Nearby, artiste Ho Van Xep, 72, is showing the villagers the “skills” to use gongs, abel, thoroughly explaining from the lyrics to the performing techniques. In other parts of the courtyard, artistes Quynh Luong, 67, and Le Van Yen, 72, are busy giving lessons on various dance moves.

Artiste Hanh shared: “Our ancient songs and dances are disappearing. As a lover and devotee of the arts, I decided to join with other artistes to try and preserve our ancient culture.”

Having access to the ancient culture helps the learners to better understand the role and need of preservation of their ethnic culture. Mr. Ho Van Minh, from A Luoi district’s Office of Culture and Information, who is also a trainee, said that, with the enthusiastic, hands-on instructions of the artistes, he and his young fellow learners were able to learn the old songs and dances of their ethnic groups easily. After several nights of class participation, many people were able to sing tunes and dance basic moves.

“We are soon going to our last resting place in Mother Nature, so it is a must for us to pass down the essence of our culture to the younger generations. Seeing them so eager and enthusiastic to learn really warms up our heart,” artiste Le Van Yen happily shared.

Concerns

The folk song, folk dance classes for the people of Pa Co, Co Tu, Ta Oi tribes are one of the key activities in the "Preservation of cultural identity of ethnic minorities in A Luoi district" project. This comes from the fact that traditional artistes are becoming scarce, while the villagers forget their ethnic culture. Despite their enthusiasm, the artistes in this highland are struggling. "For many reasons, some learners don’t attend classes regularly, and others, though enthusiastic, are not gifted enough; so there are difficulties in teaching. Additionally, the budget for the classes is still low, so some people are not interested in teaching and learning," artiste Ho Van Hanh told us.

Ms. Le Thi Them, head of the district's Office of Culture and Information, said that despite the difficulties, they managed to open 9 classes, integrating various community activities. All communes and towns of A Luoi district have their own folk art group. Especially in Hong Trung Commune, each village maintains a band to play in cultural festivals.

“From these classes, typical elements and high-quality performances were discovered to participate in the North Central Festival Folk Festival. Since then, the learners have become more excited as they have a chance to develop their abilities. Furthermore, thanks to the exchange of experience, the quality of folk songs and dances in the district has been improved, and the preservation of the local culture has become efficient," Them added.

By Thanh Hang – Thu Thuy

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