“Vietnam Declares Le Thuy’s ‘Ho Khoan’ Singing As National Intangible Cultural Heritage”

NDO – “Ho khoan” Le Thuy, a genre of Vietnamese folk music from Le Thuy district, in the central province of Quang Binh, has been recognised as national intangible cultural heritage for its typical characteristics.

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Quang Binh province held an official ceremony in Kien Gian town, Le Thuy district on Thursday night to recognize its traditional art form as one of the nation’s invaluable heritages. The purpose of this event was to honor and preserve the values of traditional art forms, contributing to the cultural practices in the spiritual lives of the population in the new era of integration and development.

The folk singing tradition known as “Ho khoan” in Le Thuy is a significant aspect of the local culture, with both popular and professional characteristics. It has evolved and thrived over time, becoming an integral part of the lives of the Le Thuy community. “Ho khoan” is a type of folk singing that originated during the laborious activities of the local people in the lowland area of Le Thuy. It is characterized by nine rhythmic elements and features antiphonal singing, where alternating groups of female and male singers engage in musical challenges and responses with themes of love and sentimentality.

Aside from being preserved within the local community, “Ho khoan” has also been introduced in Le Thuy schools, ensuring the continuity of this art form. Recognizing the exceptional values and efforts to preserve and promote “Ho khoan” in Le Thuy, the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism officially designated the laboring songs of Le Thuy as a national intangible cultural heritage on May 8, 2017. This recognition is the first intangible cultural heritage of Quang Binh province.

During the ceremony, along with the introduction of “Ho khoan” in Le Thuy and the announcement of its national recognition, the program also showcased reports on the spiritual lives of the local people as they participate in this art form.