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Artisans preserve the soul of Cham ethnic people (February 27, 2005)

Artisan Phu Binh Don.
Even today, there are still many ethnic people in Cham villages who know how to use their traditional musical instruments but there are just a few of them being able to make those musical instruments. Artisans Phu Binh Don and Cuu Lac are two among those.

In a small house in Vu Bon village, Phuoc Nam commune, Ninh Thuan province, artisan Phu Binh Don was teaching students to play drum. Ghinang and Paranung drum, Saranai pan-pine and ca nhi string instrument are main musical instruments of Cham people during religious rituals.

Artisan Phu Binh Don can make all those four musical instruments.

He was taught how to make drum and pan-pipes since he was 18 years old from his father but only leant to make the ca nhi string instrument over the last ten years after a long period of study.

The 50 year old artisan Cuu Lac who lives in Phan Thanh commune, Bac Binh district, Binh Thuan province has a great passion for making drums and teaching the art to his children.

Talented artisan Cuu Lac has won four gold medals at domestic art festivals.

Artisan Cuu Lac.
Ghinang drum has a height of 85 cm and a diameter of 35 cm and it takes the artisan 20 days to make it. With a diameter of 40-50 cm and a height of 20 cm, the artisan needs one week to complete a Paranung drum. Now Saranai pan-pipe is made from wood but in the past, it was made from buffalo horn.

Not many people book Cham people to make those instrument though each drum prices only VND 2-3 million. Cultural agencies in Cham inhabiting localities sometimes buy several drums and pan-pipes for the purpose of introduction but not performance.

However, artisans Phu Binh Don and Cuu Lac don’t live on the instrument making or playing. They make the instruments or teach their children to play just because of their passion on the art.

Reprinted with permission from Nhan Dan Newspaper


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