The Mekong Delta province of Tra Vinh on December 31 held a ceremony to receive a certificate recognising Cham Rieng Cha Pay, a traditional folk music practised by Khmer ethnic people, as part of the national intangible cultural heritage.
This genre of music was popular at hamlets and pagodas of Khmer people in Tra Vinh province since the early 20 th century. Tan Hiep commune in Tra Cu district is dubbed as the cradle of the art.
Cham Rieng Cha Pay performers present stories in the form of poems consisting of four lines, each with seven words. They also extemporaneously create new songs expressing their emotions.
As a kind of solo performance, the folk music involves both instrumental and vocal parts, with Cham Rieng meaning the melody while Cha Pay, a two-string instrument whose necks is measured at 120 centimetres.
However, Chan Rieng Cha Pay is standing on the edge of oblivion as only 80-year-old Thach Mau in Chong Bat hamlet, Tan Hiep district, can master this type of music.
In an effort to preserve the art, the Tra Vinh Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism has collected scientific documents and compiled a dossier for the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to add the music to the list of national intangible cultural heritages.
The province will also organise classes where artists pass down the art to young generations, add this genre of music to regional and provincial art performances as well as boarding schools’ curricula, Tran Thanh Thuong, the department’s Director said.