The gong, a musical instrument native to the Central Highlands, is particularly popular in the five provinces of Kon Tum, Gia Lai, Dak Lak, Dak Nong, and Lam Dong. After realising that the key force in preserving this piece of national heritage are young people, ethnic people in Gia Lai province have attached great importance to engaging children and teenagers in gong sessions, as well as traditional folk singing and dancing classes.

The sound of the gong echoes at the communal house of Kon So Lal village, Ha Tay commune, Chu Pah district several times every month. Thanks to the passion of village elders, many young people in the village are now highly skilled in beating and performing gong tunes.

Ethnic people in Gia Lai province in general are exerting their efforts to preserve their traditional cultural value. By offering classes to teach the gong and the traditional xoang dance to the younger generation, they hope their descendants will always remember and uphold their ancestors’ unique culture.

Currently, the Central Highlands has more than 10,000 sets of gongs, over half of which are kept in Gia Lai province. Each village in the province is home to several gong troupes, headed by experienced artisans and village elders. Recently, young people and women have been taking part in the troupes too.

The Cultural Space of Gong of Tay Nguyen was recognised by the UNESCO in 2005 as a masterpiece of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity. It is closely linked to the daily life of local people. Their belief systems form a mystical world where gongs produce a privileged language between men, divinities, and the supernatural world. -VNA