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Khmer folk music recognised

Update: January, 02/2014 - 11:22
Disappearing art: Tra Vinh's only living Cham Rieng Cha Pay artisan, Thach Mau. The traditional folk music practised by the Khmer ethnic people was recognised as part of the nation's intangible cultural heritage on Tuesday. — Photo travinh.gov.vn

TRA VINH  (VNS) — Cham Rieng Cha Pay – a traditional type of folk music practised by the Khmer ethnic people – was recognised as part of the nation's intangible cultural heritage on Tuesday.

The Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Tra Vinh on Tuesday held a ceremony to present a certificate marking the recognition of this status.

This genre of music has been popular in the hamlets and pagodas of the Khmer people in Tra Vinh since the early 20th century. The province's Tan Hiep Commune in Tra Cu District has been dubbed the cradle of the art.

Cham Rieng Cha Pay performers present stories in the form of poems composed of four lines, each with seven words. They also extemporaneously create new songs that express their emotions.

As a kind of solo performance, the folk music involves both instrumental and vocal parts, with "Cham Rieng" referencing the melody, while "Cha Pay" is a two-string instrument with a neck measuring 120 centimetres.

However, Cham Rieng Cha Pay is standing on the edge of oblivion as only 80-year-old Thach Mau in Chong Bat Hamlet, Tan Hiep District, has been able to master this type of music.

In an effort to preserve the art, the Tra Vinh Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism has collected scientific documents and compiled a dossier for the ministry to support the case to add the music to the list of national intangible cultural heritage icons.

The province will organise classes where artists can pass down the art to the next generation and add this genre of music to regional and provincial art performances and to boarding schools' curricula, Tran Thanh Thuong, the department's director, remarked. — VNS


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