Then singing seeks UNESCO recognition

The northern mountainous province of Tuyen Quang, one of the cradles of Hat Then (Then singing), is hastening the compilation of a dossier seeking UNESCO’s recognition of the musical genre as a piece of intangible cultural heritage of humanity.

Then singing, which was added to an official list of the nation’s intangible cultural heritage in 2012, is distinctive musical genre and a special combination of the spiritual and cultural life of the Tay, Nung and Thai ethnic groups in Vietnam.

It is practised in many northern localities and the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak.

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The style of singing is a unique combination of music and song and traditionally accompanied by a handmade gourd lute, called Dan Tinh or Tinh Tau.

It is closely linked with the spiritual life of some ethnic people, who perform it during rituals to pray for good health, a bumper crop and a long life.

At present, all involved localities are working with the National Academy of Music to collect documents and complete other related works to perfect the dossier.

Then singing festivals have been held in several northern provinces in recent times to widely promote the form to the public. Meanwhile, conferences calling for more support from international cultural experts for the recognition are scheduled to be organised in the coming time. 

Vietnam now has seven examples of world intangible heritage listed by UNESCO including Hue's royal court music, Gong space culture in the Central Highlands, Quan ho (love duet) singing, the Giong festival, Ca Tru ceremonial singing, Xoan singing, and the Worship of the Hung Kings.

VNA/VOV online