Dak Lak: Buon Ma Thuot coffee festival opens

Saturday, 2017-03-11 07:08:33
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A performance at the opening of the 6th Buon Ma Thuot Coffee Festival. (Credit: VGP)
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NDO/VNA – Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has urged the Central Highlands region to develop into a prosperous area by promoting its biodiversity, cultural values and organic agriculture.

The PM spoke at the opening ceremony of the 6th Buon Ma Thuot Coffee Festival in the evening of March 10 in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak.

He noted that the Central Highlands has great advantages and potential for coffee plantations and exports, adding that it should also improve the agro-forestry processing industry.

He said the region, which has the potential to become an attractive tourist destination, should promote ecological tours associated with coffee and gong-cultural values.

The PM urged the region to develop a sustainable strategy to preserve the identity of local ethnic groups, especially the traditional gong space culture, which in 2008 was added to the Representative List of UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Cultivation of coffee trees is the main livelihood of farmers in the Central Highlands.

“The Buon Ma Thuot coffee festival plays an essential role in promoting the trademark of Buon Ma Thuot coffee and Vietnamese coffee to the international market,” he said.

During the festival, which is scheduled to run through the weekend, there will be cultural activities in various areas around Buon Ma Thuot, including a culinary street, street festival, elephant race, boat race, and wooden statue-carving contest with 60 artisans from the central province of Khanh Hoa and the Central Highlands region.

The fourth conference on investment promotion for the Central Highlands will be held on March 11 in Buon Ma Thuot. It is expected to draw 500 representatives from local and international agencies.

In addition, a photo contest featuring local coffee culture and gong space culture as well as a coffee harvesting competition will take place.

The country has exported an average of 1.2-1.5 million tonnes of coffee each year in the past ten years.

PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc addresses the opening ceremony of the 6th Buon Ma Thuot Coffee Festival. (Credit: VGP)

Vietnam is the second-largest coffee exporter in the world, following Brazil.

The festival has also attracted investors interested in trade and tourism projects in the area, he said.

During the coffee festival, local and foreign visitors will have the opportunity to enjoy a gong festival in Dak Lak.

The gong festival promotes the cultural values and music of the Central Highlands, as well as the country’s socio-economic development, particularly tourism.

Gong performances and traditional ethnic group ceremonies will be organised in Buon Ma Thuot and Buon Don district.

Many ethnic groups will take part in the gong festival, together with performers from other countries such as Cambodia, Laos and Romania.

“Gong music is a deeply rooted part of culture in most East and Southeast Asian countries,” Phuc said.

The gong festival reflects the Central Highlands gong culture’s status as a masterpiece of the world’s oral and intangible heritage. The title was awarded by UNESCO in December 2005 after the Government submitted an action programme on the unique culture.

The opening ceremony of the festival involved about 1,000 local and foreign performers at Buon Ma Thuot’s March 10 Square. The performance is based on a story about the history of the province and its ancient gong culture.

During the festival, many activities will be held, including religious ceremonies accompanied by gong orchestras as well as contests, seminars and exhibitions.

Vietnamese gongs can be divided into two main types, cong and chieng. Cong gongs have a knob in the middle, while the chieng gong is flat all over. Cong gongs make deep bass sounds, while melodies can be created with a chieng gong.

“Gongs have been widely used during daily life including grand ceremonies of the Central Highlands ethnic groups,” the PM said.

“Villages in the region often reflect their strength through gongs. They show the people’s sentiments, love, and relationship to nature,” he added.

The ceremonies were broadcast live on VTV1, VTV5 and VTV8 of the Vietnam Television Network as well as TV and radio channels in Dak Lak province and other Central Highlands provinces.

* Early the same day, a street festival made Buon Ma Thuot’s streets bustle with a range of colourful performances.

A gong performance and sword dance by Ede ethnic group at the 2017 Buon Ma Thuot Street Festival. (Credit: Cong Ly/NDO)

M'nong people in Dak Nong beat gongs on Buon Ma Thuot streets. (Credit: Cong Ly/NDO)

Impressive traditional costume by K'ho ethnic people. (Credit: Cong Ly/NDO)

A drum performance by Ma ethnic people. (Credit: Cong Ly/NDO)

Hungarian traditional performance at the street festival. (Credit: Cong Ly/NDO)

Dak Lak elephants participate in the Buon Ma Thuot Street Festival. (Credit: Cong Ly/NDO)

Artists carrying symbols of coffee trees, the main crop in Dak Lak. (Credit: Cong Ly/NDO)