Kinh man preserves ethnic minority’s gongs

(VOVWORLD) - Duong Van Tho is a member of the Kinh ethnic majority who lives in Cư Drăm commune, in Dak Lak province. Having fallen in love with the gongs and dances of the Ede minority in the Central Highlands, he has invited artisans to teach young Ede people in his commune to play gongs and perform the traditional Ede dances.



Duong Van Tho’s long stilt house often rings with the sound of gongs. In the past year, villagers have become familiar with the gong classes in his house.

Y Gôn ÊBan of Cham A hamlet has been learning to play gongs for nearly a year. His passion for gongs has replaced his passion for computer games.

“The first time I visited uncle Tho’s house, I didn’t think I would learn to play gongs. Later he met me at a computer game station and encouraged me to try the gongs. Eventually I began to like the gongs and play better. Now I want to promote our Ede traditions.”

Kinh man preserves ethnic minority’s gongs - ảnh 1Duong Van Tho (R) and artisan Y Jut Êban teach Ede children to play traditional instruments.

Tho’s son, Duong Van Tu, said his father’s passion inspired him to learn to play gongs. “It was quite difficult at first. Often it’s old men who play the gongs. The teacher has been patient and now I can play quite well,” Tu said.

Y Jut ÊBan of Cư Pui commune said he doesn’t provide hands-on instruction. Gongs are played in sets so teaching many people at one time is not easy. Tho has visited many families to invite the children to attend his gong class. He has rented instruments at his own expense. If it rains, he picks up students and takes them to the class. Y Jut said Tho’s enthusiasm kindled everyone’s interest.

“When I first met him, he said he had organized a gong class for kids. He wanted me to teach them. I didn’t believe him, but then I accepted. He pays for everything himself. So I agreed to come here and teach the children without payment,” Y Jut said.

The gong class now has 9 students between 12 and 17 years old who can play the “welcoming guests” and “offering alcohol” melodies. They practice one or twice a week. Duong Van Tho said he has an Ede wife and has lived with the Ede for nearly 30 years. He hopes the children in his gong class will develop a passion for Ede culture and attract more members.

“I worry about the Ede community and tradition. I’m afraid the children will not learn about their tradition. I organized the gong class with the hope that they will continue to teach younger children. In the future I hope the gong troupe will perform for the community tourism program. And I hope people who love the Central Highlands music will work with me to open more music classes.”

Tho’s gong class is the first in Krông Bông district. It has raised awareness of the importance of preserving and prompting Ede culture.

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