Ethnic minority artisans with great contributions to cultural preservation

Playing the role of connecting and mobilising the community to preserve the traditional cultural identity, ethnic minority artisans in the villages and hamlets around the country have been dedicated to cultural preservation, while enthusiastically leading and teaching traditional performing art values to younger generations, through training courses and mass art movements, contributing to improving the spiritual life of the community.
The artisans are honoured at the Cultural Days of Vietnamese Ethnic Groups.
The artisans are honoured at the Cultural Days of Vietnamese Ethnic Groups.

As the ethnic group with less than 10,000 people in Lai Chau Province, the Mang group mainly lives in Nam Nhun, Muong Te and Sin Ho Districts, with the largest population in Nam Nhun. Living together with the H'Mong, Thai and Dao ethnic minority groups, in the process of cultural interference, Mang people have been affected in terms of identity, language, customs, and practices.

In recent years, the mass art movement in Nam Pi Commune, Nam Nhun District, has developed strongly, contributing to the effective preservation and maintenance of many beautiful features in the cultural identity of the Mang ethnic group. The commune maintains six art troupes that regularly practise and perform songs, dances, and flute pieces of their ethnic group.

Pa Bon is a resettlement village established in 2021. Along with the stable economy, the spiritual life of the villagers has been gradually improved. The Pa Bon art troupe has been directly taught and guided by artisan Sin Van Doi. Born and raised in Lai Chau, ethnic artisan Sin Van Doi is an active and enthusiastic individual in propagating and mobilising the villagers to effectively carry out movements to develop the economy, eliminate hunger, reduce poverty, and build a green, clean, and beautiful cultural village.

Despite being busy with family and social work, artisan Sin Van Doi has devoted his time and efforts to preserving the traditional cultural identity and beauty of the Mang ethnic group. In addition to teaching knowledge about traditional folk performing arts to 30 students and villagers, artisan Sin Van Doi has also been collaborating with the Nam Nhun District Department of Culture and Information, to compile a document guiding the class on traditional folk performing arts of the Mang ethnic group. This document is extremely valuable, as it not only guides students to learn basic songs and understand the meaning of each song and dance, but also equips them with basic knowledge and techniques for breathing, and hand and foot movements while singing, dancing, and playing the flute.

Artisan Sin Van Doi has worked with artisan Pan Van Chon to translate the lyrics of Mang songs into Vietnamese, creating conditions for young people to quickly and easily access traditional culture, thereby gradually raising their awareness of preserving cultural identity and beauty. In 2019, artisan Sin Van Doi was awarded the title of Meritorious Artisan. Sharing his concerns about the degradation of indigenous culture, he said: “Although I regularly guide students and art troupes to practise and memorise traditional songs, dances, flutes, and proverbs, of my ethnic group, the beautiful traditional culture of the Mang people is at risk of fading in the current trend of integration and development. I hope that the Party and State will issue many supportive policies to restore and revive these cultural features”.

Sharing the same view on the interference causing the erosion of indigenous cultural values ​​in modern life, Meritorious Artisan Tran Thi Nam of the San Diu ethnic group in Trung Mau Village, Trung My Commune, Binh Xuyen District, Vinh Phuc Province, established the Trung Mau Soong Co singing club, with the aspiration to preserve and maintain the Soong Co singing art form. With more than 50 members, the club has organised regular activities. The members have actively practised, and regularly participated in performances and cultural and artistic exchanges with other localities, creating a vibrant and widespread Soong Co singing movement, while preserving the unique features of the San Diu people’s indigenous culture, including traditional costumes, songs and dances.

Passing down traditional folk songs of the San Diu ethnic group to young people, teenagers and others in the village, artisan Tran Thi Nam said Soong Co singing is a unique and typical cultural feature of the San Diu ethnic group, that brings joy and enthusiasm in production and labour and creates a sense of attachment to the homeland, village and San Diu people.

In 2018, the Soong Co folk culture of the San Diu ethnic group was recognised by the State as a national intangible cultural heritage. To express her respect and pride in the value and identity of her ethnic culture, and to preserve and maintain the unique values, artisan Tran Thi Nam and the Soong Co folk singing club of Trung Mau Village, compiled and published 200 books about the San Diu ethnic culture in 2014, including 120 books about the culture, language and singing of Soong Co folk songs. Since 2023, the club has organised more classes about the language and singing of folk songs for San Diu ethnic children.

With the love for national culture, the enthusiasm and dedication of artisans, and the continuation of generations, the treasure of folk songs, folk dances, and folk music of ethnic groups has still been preserved every day, creating beauty and diversity in contemporary life.