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Fund to restore Van Kieu culture

The Dennis Regional and Ethnic Culture Fund has sponsored a project to help restore the traditional culture of the Van Kieu ethnic group in Truong Son Commune, Quang Ninh District, and Truong Xuan Commune, Minh Hoa District in the central province of Quang Binh.

  05/11/2008 10:14

Since 2007, the fund has donated VND300 million (nearly US$18,200). Each project is given approximately VND20 million (nearly $1,200) to restore and uphold the culture of the Van Kieu.

This year, five projects have been approved including training in traditional music for the youth, preserving hat vi (a kind of the Van Kieu’s folk singing), providing musical instruments for festivals, and musical exchanges between the two communes.

Most Van Kieu people reside in mountainous areas in Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien-Hue provinces. They live in houses on stilts that are formed in a circle around the central public hall. They worship ancestors and spiritual items and revere fire. The have a long-standing musical tradition and use instruments like the drum, cymbals, pan-pipes and gong. They have maintained many folk songs, legends and proverbs. They live off of farming, breeding, hunting, picking fruit and fishing.

Old Van Kieu people will pass down these traditions, with help from the Dennis Fund, by holding classes for the youth.
Young girl Ho Thi Pay prides herself on the fact that she can now be confident singing folk songs when tilling the field.
"Before, I didn’t even know how to sing our songs, after joining the class, I can sing giao duyen (dual love song) at festivals and sing lullabies for my children," she said.

Besides folk songs, musical instruments play an important role in the cultural life of the Van Kieu. Through different songs and instruments, villagers know what is going on in the village, for example a gong announces festivals while pan-pipes sound to announcement of new love.

With support of the fund and the local government, the Van Kieu have been recovering their traditions.

(Source:  VNS)
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