|Jamming: Musician Ngo Van Da teaches students at Luong Van Tri Junior High School to play the tinh (traditional gourd lute). — VNS Photo Thang Trung
LANG SON (VNS)— Born in Van Quan District in the northern mountainous province of Lang Son, considered the birthplace of then folk singing, Hoang Trong Thai has loved the melodies since she was young.
Thanks to a programme at Luong Van Tri Junior High School, the 12th-grader learned to sing them.
The school first introduced folk singing into extra-curricular activities in 2008 by distributing CDs and encouraging students to sing at break times and art shows.
In 2011, the school invited then singers including Vi Thi Lien and Ngo Van Da to teach a class.
"I enjoy learning the traditional songs at school and I am more aware of my responsibility to preserve and develop the art form," Thai said.
Phung Van Thoi, the school's headmaster, said four then singing classes were offered for more than 50 students and 14 teachers.
"Teachers and students learn to play the tinh (traditional gourd lute) and sing basic then melodies," he said. "The class has been supported by the local educational sector, students' parents and other organisations based in the locality."
This distinctive music genre, created by the Tay ethnic minority group in the northern mountainous provinces and also performed by the Nung and Thai ethnic people, expresses the activities of daily life. Motions that accompany the singing include rowing a boat, washing a boat, pulling a rope, felling a tree and dancing with a handkerchief, a wooden board and a fan.
Other schools in the northern province also offer lessons, and there are plans to expand the programme in the next few years.
Nguyen Duc Hanh, a fifth-grade student at Chi Lang Primary School, boasts that she learned in school to play traditional instruments and sing.
"I have studied then singing since I was in kindergarten," she said. "I love the art and I'm proud of it." — VNS