Update: 10:58 | 22/10/2019
(BGO) - Collecting documents, purchasing costumes and props by themselves, and maintaining regular activities ... are what have been done by folk singing clubs in Vo Tranh commune (Luc Nam district, Bac Giang province) to preserve and promote the value of cultural heritage of ethnic minority groups.
Feeling happy when singing
At 8 am, at the cultural house of Dong Ma village, nearly 20 members of the commune’s Soong Co singing club sat together to practice. Luu Dinh Tien (73 years old) from San Diu ethnic group, chairman of the club, shared that Soong Co singing is a type of folk song performance originating from the working life of ethnic people.
A practicing session of the Then singing club of Mo Se-Dong Ma villages, Vo Tranh commune (Luc Nam district).
The Soong Co singing club of Vo Tranh commune was established in 2009, with more than 10 members initially. Now, the club has nearly 20 members, many of whom are 70-80 years old but still enthusiastically learn to sing.
Every month, on the night of the full moon, the club members meet at the village cultural house. Explaining the singing time, locals said that it is a cultural beauty from ancient times. In addition to singing to celebrate weddings and Lunar New Year festival (Tet), and to pray for a good harvest ..., on the full moon nights, boys and girls often confess their love through songs, and from here many couples get married.
Due to the limited support from the higher levels, all members of the club contributed their own money to raise funds, buy costumes and performance tools, but everyone felt happy.
Also because of the love for singing, some families have both husband and wife to participate in the club. For example, the couples of Tu Van Hai - Duong Thi Hon and Tran Van Thong - Hoang Thi Son, despite being busy with gardening and animal breeding, have not missed any activities for nearly 10 years. They also encouraged three grandchildren aged 7-8 to join in, namely Tu Diep An, Tu Minh Vy and Tran Thanh Thuy.
Leaving Dong Ma village, we were taken by the communal People's Committee leaders to the cultural house of Mo Se village a few kilometers away to learn more about a type of folk singing that the local authorities have paid attention to recovering: Then singing of the Tay ethnic group. The Then singing club in Mo Se-Dong Ma was established in August 2018 with 17 members, the majority of them are aged between 40 and 60.
Despite operating for a few months, the club members have memorized and sang a number of new and ancient Then songs. During leisure time, they are present at the cultural house to practice.
According to Tran Van Bo, Vice Chairman of the People's Committee of Vo Tranh commune, the commune has 13 villages, with nearly 10,000 people, 48 percent of whom are ethnic minorities, mainly Tay, San Diu, Cao Lan and Hoa (Chinese). Strongly influenced by modern music, some folk songs of ethnic minorities are at risk of disappearance.
A practicing session of the Soong Co singing club of Vo Tranh commune.
Through the activities of the art-loving key groups, the communal People's Committee, in collaboration with the Center of Culture, Information and Sports of Luc Nam district, has given advice on and helped with the establishment of the Soong Co and Then singing clubs.
In spite of being an extremely difficult commune with its limited budget, over the past time, the communal People's Committee has provided support for the clubs to operate, especially for their exchanges, performances and experience sharing in and outside the district.
On the other hand, it has coordinated with specialized agencies to collect materials from experts and researchers as well as support the procurement of sound systems and performance instruments. At festivals and cultural events organized by the commune and villages, the communal People's Committee often directs including Soong Co and Then singing in their activities...
In 2018 and 2019, the Soong Co singing club of Vo Trang commune and the Then singing of Mo Se - Dong Ma villages won four high prizes at festivals organized by Luc Nam district. Vice Chairman of the communal People’s Committee Tran Van Bo said: “What we are most happy about is that the folk songs here are still preserved. However, in order for the young generation today to inherit and promote the value of heritage, it needs more attention and help from the authorities and competent agencies”.