Then folk singing in the spotlight on Hanoi Old Quarter’s stage

Sunday, 2018-04-29 15:14:13
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The practice of ‘Then’ singing is a combination of music, dances, singing, and poetry (Photo:
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NDO – A programme to promote Then folk singing of the Tay, Nung, and Thai ethnic minority groups was held at Kim Ngan temple in Hanoi’s Old Quarter on April 28.

The event featured the beautiful voices and performances of 14 Then singing masters from Lang Son, Thai Nguyen, Cao Bang, Ha Giang, Tuyen Quang, and Bac Kan provinces, as well as lecturers and arts students from the Thai Nguyen-based Viet Bac Art and Culture College (VACC).

The artists brought the stage to life with wonderful performances of ancient Then tunes and eight newly-composed Then songs. Excerpts from traditional religious rituals of Tay and Nung ethnic groups were also reproduced for the programme.

The event was jointly organised by the VACC, the Hanoi Old Quarter Management Board, and the Dinh Lang Viet (Vietnamese Communal House) group to introduce Hanoians to the unique arts of Then singing, which was listed as a National Intangible Cultural Heritage.

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.

The practice of Then singing is a combination of music, dances, singing, and poetry. It is normally performed at village festivals or on special occasions such as at ceremonial prayers for peace and to drive away bad luck, house warming ceremonies, and longevity celebrations for elders.