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Gong festival

Mai Hoa Nie Kdam, who is also Vice Chairwoman of the Dak Lak Province’s People’s Committee, said that the festival will feature 30 regional and domestic gongs troops and a symphony orchestra from the Dak Lak Museum.

During the festival, an exhibit of wooden sculptures from the ethnic E De, Jrai, Bana, Sedang and Catu groups will be opened to visitors.

A two-day street festival will be opened on November 22 to introduce the daily life of the Tay Nguyen groups with folk games, knitting and weaving activities, a music programme, a fashion show and an elephant race.

A seminar on the “Tay Nguyen gong cultural space – reality and conservation solutions” will be held on September 23 as part of the festival.

The festival will be wrapped up with an art exchange programme on the night of November 24.

Gong culture in the Central Highlands was recognised as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritages of Humanity by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

Gongs of the Central Highlands come in a variety of shapes and sizes: cong have a nipple and produce a single, uniform sound, while chieng are flat and offer a wider range of notes. Different sizes are characterised by family names: Mother, Father, and Older Sister. Gongs can be drummed by hand or with a cloth-covered stick.

Central Highlands gongs are not only musical, but also serve at times as cultural rites of passage for close to 20 ethnic minorities as they are used to herald in life changes.

Gongs appear in most rituals and ceremonies of ethnic minorities in the Central Highlands.