100-year-old artisan dedicated to performing Then singing

Chia sẻ

(VOVWORLD) - People’s Artisan Mo Thi Kit of Lang Son province has been called “a treasure” of Then singing – the unique folk genre practiced by the Tay and Nung ethnic minority groups in Vietnam’s northeastern region. Kit has spent most of her lifetime collecting, memorizing, and singing thousands of Then songs. She made a major contribution to getting Then honored by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. 

100-year-old artisan dedicated to performing Then singing  - ảnh 1People’s Artisan Mo Thi Kit. (Photo: VOV) 

Mo Thi Kit was born and raised in Binh Gia district, Lang Son province, a center of Then performance. Kit began singing Then when she was 15. She has memorized thousands of songs and is able to sing for 3 days and nights during Tay and Nung Then festivals.

Each spring Kit organizes a festival in her own home to commemorate the Then founders and give local villagers a place to gather and enjoy themselves.

“Then songs have great educational value. They encourage people to love each other and let go of hatred. I perform Then, not for money, but for my great passion and to make others happy,” said Kit.

For the past 10 years, Nong Thi Phuong, the Head of Binh Gia district’s Association of Folk Singing Preservation – and Tit’s daughter – has kept a record of her mother’s Then singing career. It will be published later this year as a book entitled “The Guardian of Then melody”. 

“My mother is an example of strong will. She lost her parents and brother at a young age, but has always done her best throughout her life. She’s our idol. My mother has sung Then for more than 85 years now,” said Phuong.

100-year-old artisan dedicated to performing Then singing  - ảnh 2Mo Thi Kit receives the title People’s Artisan in 2019. (Photo: VOV) 

Mo Thi Kit received the title Emeritus Artist in 2015 and the title People’s Artisan in 2019. Many researchers have interviewed her about Then singing. 

“Ms. Kit was born in 1921 and began singing at a young age, so she knows many old Then songs. At the age of 100, she still sings very well. The Then songs sung by Kit are in the ancient Tay language and reflect the cultural exchange between the Tay and Kinh groups,” said Nguyen Xuan Bach, who teaches Then singing at Viet Bac Art and Culture College.

Dr. Hoang Van Pao, Chairman of Lang Son province’s Cultural Heritage Association, said, “Ms. Mo Thi Kit embodies the soul of Then songs in Lang Son province. She still sings the old Then songs and has taught Then singing to the younger generation in an effort to preserve the genre.”