Keep forever the sound of the great forest

Gia A Ner’s lovely house is located next to the path leading to Tu Mo Rong village. The small kitchen is also a creative place. There are always ready rattans, sharpeners, umbrellas, strings and hammers… to test the sound of the unfinished Gia ethnic musical instruments. Seemingly simple things taken from the mountains and forests are a whole project to produce products with Gia A Ner’s lifelong passion. All 50 Xo Dang households in Tu Mo Rong village (Tu Mo Rong commune, Tu Mo Rong district, Kon Tum province) know that. Now Gia A Ner’s talented hands are even busier because the festival season is approaching. The lutes and flutes that are being unfinishedly designed in the kitchen will be born in time to resonate among the thousands of melodies of the enthusiastic Xo Dang people in the new season.

May 12, 2015.bnh
Elder A Ner with traditional musical instruments

On the list of Kon Tum province proposed to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to consider awarding the title of Meritorious Artist is Giaa A Ner. But, not only that, now returning to Tu Mo Rong village, calling Gia an officer, an artisan or the soul of the people is all correct. Because, in Tu Mo Rong, Giaa A Ner is the person with the longest seniority as the Village Elder. Holding the role of village elder since 1986 until now, this 88-year-old village elder is always full of stories about the life of the Xo Dang people. And Sister Dang in the village called Gia with the very familiar name “The roof of the village”.

This title has been honored by the village since the Elder mobilized the whole village to collect grass and thatch to cover the roof of the Communal House. The story is, in Tu Mo Rong commune, every village has a Rong House. The same goes for Old A Ner’s Tu Mo Rong village. But, in recent years, thatch grass has become increasingly rare. In some places, to have a cultural communal house, people accept that the roof is made of corrugated iron. Seeing them do that, the villagers did not like it, and the Elder did not like it even more. Because Gia knows, each layer of thatched grass, each line of rattan woven in the roofing of the Communal House must be found by the people themselves from this forest land, from this stream. Only then can it blend the soul of the mountain, the river and the soul of people in it. That is the lifelong wish of the Xo Dang people. Wanting to have a cultural Rong House to live in, while also keeping its original appearance intact, Elder A Ner was determined to find a way to overcome difficulties for his village. Elders meet in the village to lead and discuss. Everyone agreed to listen to Gia and determined to pick up thatch grass to roof the communal house. At the end of September, the rain had just stopped. From early morning, all the rooftops got up to prepare rice and drinking water. Divided into groups of 2-3 people, they walked along the trails to collect scattered bushes of thatch grass. For nearly half a month, the people of Tu Mo Rong village were engrossed in finding and collecting paintings to make enough for the roof of the Rong House. Happy with the results according to his heart’s wishes, the whole village worshiped him and called him “The roof of the village”.

There is a proper Rong House roof, but how to make the activities conform to the cultural Rong House. Thinking so, since that fall, Gia has always campaigned to fully maintain the activities of the Communal House. The communal house of Tu Mo Rong village is always full of new information. Guidelines and policies; Socio-economic development and poverty reduction programs are discussed and implemented smoothly, because everyone understands and agrees. Besides, the cultural traditions of the Xo Dang people are clearly identified, preserved and promoted by the whole village. Therefore, every folk singing competition season, only from musical instruments made by Gia himself, but the performances of Tu Mo Rong village are always unique. Since the villagers became less poor, many households strived to be better off, and more investment was made in cultural and artistic activities. The village’s gong team and sinus team are increasingly active. In competitions and festivals from 2010 to 2015, the village team was always chosen by Tu Mo Rong district to perform.

On the occasion of the April 30 holiday this year, we returned to Tu Mo Rong right when people were passionately practicing Xo Dang folk songs in preparation for the village’s festival at the coming-of-season ceremony, the water trough worshiping ceremony. We went from one surprise to another, when Gia A Ner brought out all kinds of self-made musical instruments: Treng, Goong, Flute… And, more surprising when the bellows also followed Gia to make musical notes.

The old man said: I am 88 years old, like a forest that has passed through the season of green leaves. When I’m old, I can’t rest anymore. The children are just good at performing, we need to quickly teach them how to make musical instruments, otherwise one day the old people who know how to make musical instruments will no longer be there, and the young people who grow up and don’t know how to follow will all be lost. . In the Rong House, there is a towering roof above that protects against lightning and harmful winds, which is not enough. If you want more peace, you must keep the soul of the Rong house alive and healthy. If the soul of the Rong Dynasty wants to be healthy, it must have the ringing sound of the Gong, mixed with the sound of its ethnic musical instruments in a circle of solidarity. These things are the soul of the Rong House and must be taught to the young generation to inherit.

Mr. Le Van Hong – Head of the Propaganda Department of Tu Mo Rong District Party Committee said: Gia A Ner is passionate about making musical instruments not only for his village and commune’s performance teams but also as gifts for the district’s performance teams participating in many competitions. exam. Old people continuously produce and teach young people to perform. Not only that, in everything in the village from small to large, Gia was always the one who took care of it impartially and persistently. People like Gia are a valuable asset of Tu Mo Rong district. The district also has a plan to praise examples and replicate good practices like this.