Quang Ninh ready for national Then singing festival this May hinh anh 1A performance of Then singing on the stage (Source: baoquangninh.com.vn)

Quang Ninh (VNA) – The northern province of Quang Ninh has completed its preparation of six Then songs to join the 6th national Then singing festival, slated for May 12 – 14 in Ha Giang and featuring art troupes from 16 provinces and cities.

The songs will be performed by 35 amateur artists of the Tay ethnic minority.

To Dinh Hieu, deputy head of the local Binh Lieu district’s central culture and head of the Quang Ninh delegation to the national festival, said apart from traditional songs, new songs promoting the beauty of the country and people will also be presented.

Most of the new songs are made by writing new lyrics for the old Then music, he added.

Hieu unveiled that the Quang Ninh delegation will also bring to the festival Tap singing, which is very similar to Then but uses bells and chum xoc nhac (a musical instrument in form of a round chain of metal rings) instead of the conventional Dan Tinh.

As part of its participation in the festival, Quang Ninh will run a space displaying local products and a photo exhibition on Then singing practiced by Tay people in Binh Lieu.

Then singing is a form of art combining literature, music and dancing that has long been a religious and cultural practice of Tay, Nung, Thai ethnic groups in the northern mountainous area of Vietnam. As a unique combination of music and song, the singing is traditionally accompanied by a handmade gourd lute, called Dan Tinh or Tinh Tau.

Then singing is practised in many northern provinces, including Cao Bang, Bac Kan, Thai Nguyen, Lang Son, Ha Giang, Quang Ninh, Son La, Lai Chau, Lao Cai, Bac Giang and Yen Bai, and the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak.

Last year, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism signed a dossier on then singing practice of the Tay, Nung and Thai ethnic groups of Vietnam for submission to UNESCO asking for the singing form’s recognition as part of the world intangible cultural heritage.-VNA