groups appreciated by a new audience
|Tin pan alley: The K’ho
ethnic group’s cong chieng (gongs) are no longer played
only in traditional festivals, but also in profitable performances for
tourists. — VNA/VNS Trong Duc
The deep sound and
melo-dies of traditional gongs are leaving an indelible impression on domestic
tourists in the beautiful areas around the Tay Nguyen (Central Highlands)
province of Lam Dong.
The K’ho ethnic group’s
cong chieng (gongs) are no longer played only to commemorate good
harvests, religious festivals or other special occasions like births, weddings
Lam Dong Province now has
many cong chieng performing groups. The idea of bringing cong chieng into
tourism is new, and Lac Duong Town has the most groups, according to Nguyen Tanh
from the provincial department of culture and information.
Most important was the
preservation of the unique characteristics of Lam Dong cong chieng, Tanh
Five years ago, the
Culture Family Club was established in Lat Commune with a view to preserving the
cultural value of the cong chieng. The club stages performances and has
done well at attracting many tourists who will pay good money to see and hear
Every weekend, tourists
come to Lac Duong where countryside girls are always smiling and invite visitors
to enjoy ruou can (wine drunk from a jar through pipes). Unique wildlife
and scenery in the area give the mountainous area an intriguing feeling. Lat
Commune was an increasingly popular destination for domestic tourists, said a
tour guide in HCM City.
performances for tourists have provided a new opportunity for the poor in Lac
Duong Town to earn money. There are now about ten cong chieng groups in
the town, with more than 200 artists from the communes of Bon Dung and Bo No C
preserving this musical tradition. Many now travel to other places to perform,
such as Da Lat and HCM City.
Some cong chieng
groups have invested in performance spaces or venues. The largest open air stage
has about 300 seats. The traditional music groups have added contemporary
instruments such as drum, electric guitar and keyboard.
"The tourists get
bored if we perform traditional music with only cong chieng and folk
songs," explained Krajan Ter, a group leader.
Each tourist pays around
VND30,000 for ruou can, roast meat and a cong chieng performance,
but sometimes this price is lower because of competition among the groups.
Annually, the cong chieng groups receive about 700 tourist groups with
over 30,000 guests. — VNS