Bamboo gong, a special instrument of the Ede

(VOVWORLD) - The Ching kram, a bamboo gong, is a traditional musical instrument of the Ede in the Central Highlands. The bamboo gongs are easy to play and produce a cheerful sound.
Bamboo gong, a special instrument of the Ede - ảnh 1A Ching kram class in Dak Lak province

The sound of the Ching kram resounds at every festival of the Ede. It’s a popular musical sound in their daily life and rekindles the happy atmosphere of festivals. A set of Ching kram has 5, 7, 9 or as many as 19 gongs of different pitches.

Artisan Ae Ap of Ea Tul commune, Dak Lak province, says it takes a lot of time and effort to produce a set of Ching kram. The artisan goes to the forest to select mature bamboo trees of appropriate sizes to produce suitable sounds. Ae Ap elaborates: “We cut the bamboo tubes into sections and dry them in the sun for about 2 months. They have different lengths but the same diameter. We invite at least 2 other people to test the sounds of the bamboo sections.”

Bamboo gong, a special instrument of the Ede - ảnh 2Artisans demonstrated the making of Ching kram at a festival in Pleiku, Gia Lai province in 2007.  

Each set of Ching kram produces a unique sound which depends on the bamboo itself, as well as on the artisan’s production skills and musical ability. After arranging the bamboo sections on a frame, the artisan needs about 5 months to fix their sound, which can change because of the weather.

Ami Hroi of Ea Tul commune says the Ede produced Ching kram  before bronze gongs.

“I can make a Ching kram. I love its sound. Although it’s small, its sound echoes far. Bronze gongs are expensive and we have to learn to play them,” he said.

Ching kram are popular among the Ede because they are made from available materials and are easy to play. Ae Zim of Kniet hamlet, Ea Ktur commune, said: “Bronze gongs are performed only at worship rituals and funeral ceremonies. The Ching kram can be played anywhere at anytime. It’s a popular musical instrument. We play the Ching kram for many popular melodies and old Ede folk songs. We have to buy bronze gongs but can produce our own bamboo Ching kram.”