Members of the Young Gong Troupe in Pu Hue village, Ea Ktur commune, Chu Quynh district, Dak Lak province have for the past few days been rehearsing for a local Culture-Sports event to be held next month.
Y Sun E Ban, a member of the troupe, said “We all learned gong playing just two months ago but we learned very fast. We have been invited to perform gong three times, once in the district and twice in Drai Bhang commune”.
With state funding, a gong class has been opened in Pu Hue village, attracting a lot of locals, especially young people. 13 year-old Y Bi Knul lives 5 km from the community house but comes to the class every day. He said “I want to learn gong playing and my parents support me. I really like playing the gong, whose sound is very beautiful. Mr. Ae Nheo teaches us.
He’s a good teacher. It was a little bit difficult in the beginning, especially learning to play the “Welcoming a New Crop” song”.
70-year old gong artist Ae Nheo learned gong tunes by heart when he was a little boy. At that time, Ae Nheo recalled, he often followed his grandparents and parents to festivals and ceremonies in the village. He was interested in the sound of the gong and tried to play the gong during breaks in the performance. Eventually, he learned to play.
Ae Nheo said he is very happy now because the younger generations love the gong and learn the gong playing quite easily:
Teaching younger people to play the gong not only preserves the art but also inspires them with cultural values because the sound of the gong is the sound of the national spirit, he said, adding that they learn about human values and the tradition of their ethnic group and become inspired to preserve their cultural tradition.