Veteran artist helps revive Chu Ru culture

(VOVWORLD) - The sound of gongs, gourd clarinets, and drums echoes over mountains and forests from Diom A hamlet, Don Duong district, Lam Dong province. Regular performances have revived the music and dances of the local Chu Ru. 

60-year-old Touneh Ma Bio dances as gracefully as the young girls whenever she joins the performance. When she was 7 or 8, she could play gongs and dance the Arya dance of the Chu Ru. In recent years, Ma Bio has spent time reviving and promoting Chu Ru dances.

“I love my ethnic culture. I want to teach young Chu Ru people the culture of our group,” Ma Bio said.

Veteran artist helps revive Chu Ru culture  - ảnh 1 Ma Bio plays a gong with a Chu Ru art troupe. (photo:

Ma Bio is one of 9 Emeritus Artists in Lam Dong province. Her home village on the bank of the Da Nhim river is a land of Chu Ru dances and music. She grew up listening to her mother’s lullabies, Rokel singing, and gong music. 

To revive her ethnic culture, Ma Bio has been teaching children in her hamlet to play gongs and clarinets, to sing, and to dance.

Afraid that modern culture will affect the traditional festivals, folk songs and music of the Chu Ru, Ma Bio has tried to transfer her knowledge to the younger generation.

“A lot of ethnic people listen to modern music. But I want to preserve our culture for our children. I will encourage them to learn and maintain our beautiful culture,” Ma Bio said.

Veteran artist helps revive Chu Ru culture  - ảnh 2 Chu Ru people dance in a festival. (photo:

Ma Bio has spent her life promoting Chu Ru culture. Her 100-year-old stilt house is a small museum of Chu Ru household utensils and other items.

Ms. Ma Sa, a local in Lac Xuan commune, Don Duong district, talked about Ma Bio, “Ma Bio can play gongs and knows a lot about Chu Ru culture. She has taught us our culture. We are proud to perform Chu Ru songs and dances. She always worries that our culture could disappear. Fortunately she continues to teach the young.”

Ma Bio has spent her life collecting Chu Ru songs and dances on the verge of being forgotten. She says that as long as she has good health, she will devote herself to teaching so that her culture will not be lost.