Cultural area of Tay Nguyen Gong spreads 5 provinces namely Kon Tum, Gia Lai, Dak Lak, Dac Nong and Lam Dong. This kind of featured culture is owned by the Tay Nguyen ethnic minorities such as Bana, Xedang, Mnong, Coho, Romam, Ede, Giarai… Gongs culture have an interconnection with the life of Tay Nguyen people. They symbolize for the voice of spirit and soul of humans, express their happiness as well as the sadness in laboring and ordinary living.
Gongs dancing in the night
Gong is the copper-alloyed musical instrument which is mixed with gold, silver of black copper. There are 2 types of gongs: button and without button. This instruments can be in various size, which diameter ranges from 20cm to 60cm and the biggest one 90cm to 120cm. Gongs are used either alone or in a group which has 2-13 or even 18-20 gongs.
Tay Nguyen Gongs are unique and abundant musical instruments. A series of Tay Nguyen Gongs is based on natural sound scale to establish its own one. Each ethnic minority also has the structure of 3-sound, 5-sound or 6-sound scale. However, gongs are multiple-sound instruments including basic sound and other supporting sound. In fact, a group of 6 gongs can provide at least 12 sounds or more, which explains the reason why the sound of gongs is thick and deep.
Gongs culture have a deep impact on the spiritual life of people of Tay Nguyen
In terms of origin, according to some researchers, gongs are the “descendant” of Dan Da. Before copper culture appeared, ancient people had used instruments made from stone, bamboo and then copper. From the beginning, gongs which were played to celebrate the rice and field were the expression of beliefs and a mean to communicate with super nature. All the festival during the year must have gongs to tighten the bonds among people.
According to the people in Tay Nguyen, each gong hides a God. The older the gong is, the stronger power of the God is. Gongs are precious properties which symbol for power and wealth. In the festival, the image of people dancing around the fire with the liquor and the echo sound of gongs makes Tay Nguyen romantic and mysterious. Gongs, therefore, contribute to the formation of epics, poems which are both romantic and grand.
Occasions to Gongs culture performance
- Gong festival: held annually in 5 provinces namely Kon Tum, Gia Lai, Dak Lak, Dak Nong and Lam Dong. In this event, artists will show their cultural space of their province.
- Elephant race in Buon Don: held in March of the even year at Buon Don (Krong Na Ward, Buon Don District, Dak Lak Province).
- Tay Nguyen spring festival: last from January to March in the village in Tay Nguyen.
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