|Emeritus artisan Dang Nho Vuong can play two flutes simultaneously using his nose. (Photo: baodantoc.vn)
Pao dung songs have become an indispensable part of Dao people’s culture. They convey their feelings, beliefs, and aspirations for a better life.
“Pao dung has many melodies for different circumstances such as lullabies, invitations, and duet-love-songs. The Dao sing Pao dung whenever and wherever they want. For example when wedo farm work, we sing with other people on the other side of the field or the mountain. The voice echoes and we can sing back and forth,” said Emeritus Artisan Dang Nho Vuong in Dai Son commune.
Pao dung songs have simple lyrics that are easy to understand and remember. Pao dung melodies are used to recite poems or for young boys and girls to flirt with each other. The melodies, rhythms, and lyrics have profound cultural value to educate people of their origin, homeland, and national traditions and raise the spirits of labor, creativity, ideology of life, and people’s relationship with nature.
|A performance directed by Emeritus Artisan Dang Nho Vuong at the Festival of Ethnic Groups' Costumes in Yen Bai province in 2017. (Source: baoyenbai.com.vn)
Pao dung singing is not accompanied by musical instruments. The singers can modify the lyrics depending on their emotion and the situation.
Artisan Vuong has organized many classes to teach children Pao dung and flute and other musical instruments.
“First I love and am proud of my group’s folk singing. Second I want to preserve the cultural identity of the Dao so I inspire the children to learn our folk singing genres. I’m very happy that many children attend my classes,” said Vuong.
Dang Thi Le Na, who attended the singing and dancing class of artisan Dang Nho Vuong, said, “I learned to sing Pao dung when I was in secondary school. I like Pao dung because it is an inseparable part of the Dao ethnic group. When I perform Pao dung, I’m very happy and proud.”
“It’s quite difficult to learn Pao dung. I’ll try to learn it and promote it to many people. I’m proud of this genre,” said Dang Thi Thu, another pupil.
Pao dung performances by the art troupe of Dai Son commune have won many prizes at district, province, and regional festivals.