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Pa Ko people live in high mountains and their lives are associated with the forests and hill tops.
They have created many kinds of musical instruments for different events such as the worship of the Jade Emperor, the New Rice ceremony, a house-warming ceremony, and new village establishment ceremony.
The Pa Ko express their feelings and wishes to the Heaven God through singing and music. Among many musical instruments, the drums and gongs are indispensible at festivals.
They are believed to convey Pa Ko people’s greetings and invitation to the genies to attend festivals.
The Pa Ko have given their songs and dances the breath of life. Call-and-response singing and dancing, which is called “Cha Chap” in their language, is performed at exciting events of the community.
Artisan Ho Van Xep of Hong Kim commune in Thua Thien Hue province remembers a lot of Pa Ko songs.
He said “Cha Chap” has styles for young and elderly people. They sing about the skies, brooks, mountains, trees, and everything around them.
Artisan Xep said the best way to teach their children about their ancestors and tradition is through music. It’s necessary to collect and to teach folk songs and dances for the young people.
“I’m very happy to inherit the singing talent of our ancestors. I’ve learned more by myself. I’m happy that young people can learn quickly,” he said.
Living harmoniously with nature, the Pa Ko have used materials around them to make musical instruments. The buffalo horn is an important item which shows the power of the patriarch.
The bigger the horn, the more valuable it is. Only senior villagers are allowed to sound buffalo horns to open big ceremonies of the village such as the grave exhumation.
In recent years, the authorities of Thua Thien Hue and Quang Tri provinces, where the majority of Pa Ko people live, have carried out programs to restore and promote tangible and intangible values of the ethnic group.