Several initiatives have been undertaken by the village chiefs to record and promote the folk songs, folk dances, and customs of the local community.
The Then singing and Tinh musical instrument club in Muong Cang commune, Than Uyen district, has been operating for 17 years, three days a week. It has played a significant role in preserving and promoting the cultural heritage of the Thai ethnic people in the region. Lo Van Chon, the club’s leader, mentioned that the club has 30 members and two art troupes consisting mostly of middle-aged and elderly individuals.
“We gather on a regular basis as folk songs are an integral part of our lives. We often create new songs accompanied by the Tinh musical instrument,” he stated.
The Then singing and Tinh musical instrument club is only one of the various activities aimed at preserving the cultural heritage of different ethnic minority groups in Lai Chau province.
In Muong Cang commune, which is regarded as the cultural cradle of the Black Thai people in northwestern Vietnam, the locals have successfully preserved their traditional beliefs, art, architecture, festivals, ancestor worship, dances, songs, musical instruments, farm tools, and household utensils. Muong Cang has recently implemented programs, plans, and regulations to regularly organize cultural and art activities, sports, and folk games.
“During the past two years, 13 art troupes and two clubs dedicated to Then singing have been actively operating in our commune. Each school in our locality has established a space to exhibit local cultural artifacts, and we have clubs for extracurricular activities that aim to preserve the local culture,” said Nguyen Tu Cang, Chairman of the Muong Cang commune People’s Committee.
Than Uyen district has also been actively involved in restoring, preserving, maintaining, and promoting the cultural heritage of the Thai, Mong, Dao, and Kho Mu ethnic groups. The district has already formed a Steering Committee to safeguard the cultural identities of these four ethnic groups, as well as eight other committees tasked with implementing a new cultural lifestyle.
“We have successfully revived four festivals: two of the Black Thai people, one of the Khmu people, and one of the Mong people. Additionally, we have brought back traditional folk games and work tools, and established four cultural spaces to recreate traditional art and music performances,” stated Le Thi Kim Ngan, Vice Chairwoman of Than Uyen district’s Party Committee.
Tran Manh Hung, Deputy Head of Lai Chau province’s Department of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, emphasized that the province has issued a resolution to encourage cultural preservation.
“This resolution is being implemented at all levels and in all sectors. We have placed great emphasis on cultural tourism and community tourism development,” said Hung.
Lai Chau province boasts five national intangible cultural heritages: Xoe dance and the tug-of-war game of the Thai, the Tu Cai festival of the Dao, the Gau Tao festival of the Mong, and the brocade weaving of the Lu.