Today: 04/03/2021 00:50:48 (GMT+7)

Soong Co – A space of memories

(BGO)-I went to Giap Son commune, Luc Ngan district, Bac Giang province to meet Nguyen Van An, former Chairman of the People's Committee of Luc Ngan district, an expert on San Diu folk music currently. An is one of the three excellent artisans of Luc Ngan district who was conferred the title "Meritorious Artisan" by the State.

Luc Ngan today is no longer a poor district in the province. Now it is not only the "capital of lychee" but also the largest fruit basket in the North. It is also home to many special festivals such as the Ha Temple Festival, Khanh Van Temple Festival and Am Vai Pagoda Festival. The district has eight ethnic groups living together, creating an interesting cultural interference. Since the mid-90s of the last century, district leaders have paid attention to the preservation and promotion of traditional cultural values. The district restored the Ethnic Folk Songs Festival in Chu township on the 18th of the second lunar month and upland market days, creating traditional local cultural activities.

Soong Co, A space of memories,  ethnic groups, Lục Ngạn district

Cam Son mountain and water.

It can be said that the soul of the traditional folk clubs in Luc Ngan is artisan Nguyen Van An in Beo village, Giap Son commune, where most of the villagers are from San Diu ethnic group. Since childhood, An has lived in the atmosphere of Soong Co. During the years when the country faced difficulties, folk songs faded away. An himself almost forgot everything. Then he retired and returned to his garden. A memory area in him was awakened, with songs performed by relatives, parents and friends in his young age coming back...

Today, life is getting better than before, the Party and State are encouraging the entire people to participate in building a new countryside and a new cultural life in residential areas. How to tap the folk treasures of the ethnic groups right in the locality to contribute to building a new-style rural area is a question he raised. In 2009, accepting his proposal, the communal People's Committee issued a decision to establish the San Diu folk club of Giap Son commune. Unexpectedly, local people enthusiastically engaged in the movement. The San Diu folk tunes have gradually reappeared and became more and more. Clubs singing Soong hao of the Nung, Soong Co of the San Chi, and Then of the Tay were also born. Now the district has over 30 folk song clubs in villages and communes.


Soong Co, A space of memories,  ethnic groups, Lục Ngạn district

Performing Soong Co at the Ethnic Groups’ Culture Festival in Bien Son commune (Luc Ngan district).

At the request of the management boards of more than 30 folk song clubs, the district Culture and Information Office appointed Nguyen Van An as head of the Liaison Board of folk song clubs. Then the movement has spread from Luc Ngan to other districts. Folk song clubs of the Tay, Nung, San Chi, San Diu, and Cao Lan ethnic groups were set up in Luc Nam, Son Dong, and Lang Giang districts. From here, forms of folk singing “competition” exchange at the commune and district levels and then inter-district level have appeared. Funding for the performance "tours" is contributed by local people.

We were present at a folk music class in Chao village (Giap Son commune). When we arrived, more than 30 children were learning a San Diu folk tune. This is a new folk song compiled by Nguyen Van An for folk music classes of young people. The two "old female teachers" of the class are garden owners in Chao village and members of the management board of the village's folk song club. Sponsors are rich garden owners. In particular, the communal leaders and high schools are very interested in teaching folk songs, considering it the most sustainable measure to preserve and promote the traditional culture.

At the end of the learning session, we were taken by member of the club management board to visit a newly restored communal house in Chao village located in the middle of a fruitful pomelo garden. The late autumn sky produced golden sunshine. The whole orchard became softly yellow. The chorus of dozens of children learning to sing folk songs at the Village Cultural House echoed from distance.

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Mai Nam Thang

Soong Co, A space of memories, ethnic groups, Lục Ngạn district
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