The Khaen music of the Lao people is played with a mouth organ that resembles panpipes but made with bamboo tubes of varying lengths, each with a metal reed (Source: Vientiane Times/VNA)

Vientiane (VNA)  - The music of Khaen, a Lao instrument, has been inscribed on the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

Lao Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism Bosengkham Vongdala held a press conference to announce the UNESCO’s decision in Vientiane on April 2.

The recognition was declared at the twelfth session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage that took place on Jeju Island, the Republic of Korea, on December 7, 2017.

A ceremony to celebrate the recognition is scheduled to be held on April 11 in Vientiane.

The Khaen music of the Lao people is played with a mouth organ that resembles panpipes but made with bamboo tubes of varying lengths, each with a metal reed. The player blows into the instrument through an air chamber and the sound produced depends on the size of the tube.

Khaen music is popular in all regions of Laos due to its harmonic richness. It is usually part of village festivals and it is customary for people listening to it to become active participants in the songs and dances, rather than merely spectators.

It is an integral part of Lao life that promotes family and social cohesion. Thanks to the use of bamboo, the practice is also linked to natural agriculture and healthy lifestyles. Families play an important role in transmitting the art and Khaen player associations exist in many local communities where young people can learn the art.

To maintain the practice in spite of lifestyle changes – including urbanisation – several local communities, associations and groups have begun various initiatives to consolidate and promote it through formal and non-formal education. In 2005, the Association of Khaen Arts was established and various festivals are organised to promote and enhance the art.-VNA