Hin villagers preserve Thai ethnic culture

VOV.VN - Hin hamlet in the northwestern mountainous province of Son La is known for having many Thai ethnic minority artists who can sing folk songs and play the flute, the panpipe, and the two-string fiddle.

This is the result of the local authorities and people working together for many years to preserve and promote ethnic culture.

The Thai Culture Preservation and Promotion Club was established late last year by 85 people who shared a passion for Thai songs, dances, and writing and wanted to teach Thai cultural values to young people. 

Club members perform traditional songs and dances including the seven Xoe dances that are performed at spring festivals. After the Lunar New Year celebration, Thai people plant a new crop and the villagers attend a ceremony to pray for favourable weather, a bumper crop, and good health, and have a party where everyone dances Xoe and sings folk songs.

“I remember our grandmothers and mothers dancing around a vase of liquor, a banana tree, and a Neu tree, which is believed to ward off evil spirits and is decorated with figures like birds and cicadas. I learned the old rituals and ceremonies from them. All the villagers are excited about passing on these dances to their children and grandchildren," says Lo Thi Tam, a club member. 

The club also teaches Thai songs to young people. Artist Lo Thi Ban, who has a lot of experience performing at community contests and festivals, has spread her enthusiasm and passion for singing to young people. Two club members are students at the Vocal Faculty of the Son La provincial Art School. 

"Thai folk singing has a variety of styles. Old songs should be accompanied by musical instruments. For example, love duets are accompanied by long flutes. Panpipes go well with many genres. I teach both young and old learners. I hope they will in turn teach their own children and family members,” artist Ban says.

The club has a Thai language class with 35 participants, including six children. Lo Xuan Huong, Chairwoman of the Thai Culture Preservation and Promotion Club of Hin hamlet, notes, “The class will meet regularly until the students can read and write fluently. Young pupils study during the summer when they don’t have to go to their regular school. We invite artists to teach musical instruments and share their cultural knowledge with young people. The club is still new and we’re hoping the authorities will help us obtain more school supplies.”

There is more that the people of Hin village must do to preserve and promote their culture, but results are assured because of their unity and commitment.