Although ‘Then’ singing has a lot of special values, the heritage has been facing deformity and is in danger of disappearing. Font Size: |
– The ‘Then’ Singing Practice of Tay, Nung and Thai ethnic people in
Vietnam has been submitted to UNESCO in order to recognise it as a
global intangible cultural heritage of humanity. With the cultural and
artistic values, it can be said the ‘Then’ Singing Practice of Tay, Nung
and Thai ethnic people in Vietnam has many factors which are worthy of
the UNESCO‘s honour.
to a survey’s preliminary results, ‘Then’ singing can be found in 12
provinces across the country, especially in the mountainous northern
provinces, such as Tuyen Quang, Ha Giang, Cao Bang, Bac Can and Lang
Son. In addition, ‘Then’ singing is also present in many provinces in
the Northern Delta region such as Luc Ngan and Yen The districts of Bac
Giang province. It is interesting that as the Tay and Nung ethnic people
migrated to the Central Highlands, especially Dak Lak, they brought
‘Then’ singing to the land. Listed as a National Intangible Cultural
Heritage, the ‘Then’ Singing Practice has been submitted to UNESCO to
recognise it as a global intangible cultural heritage of humanity. Tuyen
Quang was selected as the province to compile a dossier on ‘Then’
singing in order to seek UNESCO recognition as an Intangible Cultural
‘Then’ singing and the “dan tinh” (gourd lute) have become a familiar
image associated with religious activities and folk performances of
Tay, Nung and Thai ethnic people in Vietnam. Over recent years,
researching, collecting and learning ‘Then’ singing remains personal but
has not been a national or international project.
According to Prof. Dr. To Ngoc Thanh, Chairman of the Vietnamese Folk
Arts Association, ‘Then’ singing is a highly valuable treasure on the
literature and art of the Vietnamese forefathers. The practice of ‘Then’
deserves to be nominated for recognition by UNESCO, especially as the
artists who mastered the cultural heritage are few and far between.
Thus, the number of young artists pursuing the art is growing.
In general, the Vietnamese public know of ‘Then’ singing and the “dan
tinh” (gourd lute). The practice of ‘Then’ singing is a type of
cultural ritual, including music, dances, singing and poetry. Musician
Dang Hoanh Loan affirmed that ‘Then’ is a special ritual of the Tay,
Nung and Thai ethnic people in Vietnam. The ritual is a heritage that
integrates many forms such as music, literature, history, and
philosophy, he added.
According to preliminary research, there are 1,000 lines of verses in
the ancient script, reflecting the sentiment and beliefs of many ethnic
groups in Vietnam. In the ‘Then’ epic, there are many typical dances
such as Sluông chau or Pay tang. It is known that, from the 50s of the
last century, the Institute of Music has recorded tapes and materials on
‘Then’ singing with the participation of many music researchers and
senior artisans. With such premises, the national dossier on ‘Then’
singing promises to be honored by UNESCO in the near future.