The effort to pass gong culture to younger generations in the Central Highland province of Kon Tum has been facing challenges, according to artisans.
The provincial authorities and local gong artisans have organised many classes to teach the gong-performing art to ethnic minority residents, especially young people.
Artisan A Thak in Pa Cheng hamlet, Dak Long commune, Dak Ha district said he had no gongs to teach local youth the art.
Enthusiastic artisans borrow gong sets from other communes for the teaching, but new learners will soon forget how to play if they do not have the instrument for regular practice.
According to Phan Thanh Hoang, Deputy Director of Kon Tum’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the province currently has 1,900 sets of gongs of various types.
Kon Tum so far has opened 26 classes to teach forms of art and culture to nearly 600 people. The province has 300 groups of gong artists who perform at local rituals and festivals.
The cultural space of gongs was recognised as an Oral Masterpiece and Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2005.
Gongs, considered the most sacred and valuable asset in every ethnic family in the Central Highlands, have historically been widely played at ethnic minority groups’ traditional rituals and festivals.
Ethnic families in the Central Highlands region are keeping more than 9,880 sets of gongs with over 5,650 sets in Gia Lai and another 2,307 in Dak Lak. Most of the gongs belong to the Jarai, Bahnar, Ede and M’nong groups.