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San Diu folk songs fade with time

In Uncategorized on January 8, 2011 at 4:13 am




San Diu folk songs fade with time


QĐND – Thursday, December 30, 2010, 20:37 (GMT+7)

The folk singing of the San Diu ethnic group in the northern province of Tuyen Quang is fading with time, worry local elders.


The folk lyric singing, known as Soong Co, is rarely heard now, even in Ninh Lai commune, Son Duong district, where the form was believed to have originated. Over 70 percent of the population of Ninh Lai commune are of the San Diu group but few young people can now sing the songs.


“I even don’t know how to speak the San Diu language, let alone sing the traditional songs,” say some teenagers in the area.


Do Van Huong, 66, is one of the rare remaining locals who still can, and he recalls the memories of his youth and falling in love with his wife, Hoang Thi Suu, during nights of singing Soong Co.


“Back then, men who couldn’t sing Soong Co will not have been able to find a wife,” said Huong. “In springs, when farmers weren’t so busy in the fields working, young people always joined singing festivals.”


Teams of singers travelled around, stopping at every village and recruiting more members at each stop, he said.


“The lyrics are simple spoken language, yet they contain melodies inside,” said Le Thi Long, 61, from Ninh Lai. “People loved to sing Soong Co since, through the songs, they could speak out their feelings and hopes.”


While young people sang the songs to find lovers, old people used them to teach the youth about the merits of the ancestors and good behaviour, Long said.


According to Nguyen Viet Thanh, director of the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, teens from local ethnic groups no longer wear traditional clothes, speak ethnic languages, or have even grown up in homes of traditional design.


The customs of other ethnic groups in the province were also fading, Thanh said, including the Long Tong (Field Work) Festival of the Tay ethnic group, the Cap Sac (coming of age) ceremony and Tet Nhay (New Year’s Dance) of the Dao group, the Nhay Lua (Fire Dance) of the Pa Then group, and the Sinh Ca songs of the Cao Lan group.


The province has begun a project to preserve these cultural values, with a budget of up to 3.8 billion VND (1.9 million USD). The project includes research on the cultural values of seven ethnic groups in 45 villages in the districts of Na Hang, Son Duong, Chiem Hoa, Yen Son and Ham Yen.


From that research, the most endangered heritage will be prioritised for preservation efforts, with some local festivals to be reconstituted in conjunction with economic and tourism development efforts.


Source: VNA


Source: QDND

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