The unique singing style can be performed in daily activities or during wedding ceremonies and festivals. People need to be quick-minded and have a wide knowledge to create repartees when practicing the singing.
San Diu people make up some 1.4 percent (over 10,000 people) of Tuyen Quang’s population.
However, in Ninh Lai, Thien Ke and Son Nam communes, which have the highest numbers of San Diu people in the province, only a few elderly people can sing Soong co now, according to the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
To cope with such a problem, Tuyen Quang has encouraged its localities to set up teams of local singers while collecting materials about the practice to increase its popularity.
The province has also organised regular Soong co singing programmes in its communes to nurture the custom, which it hopes to be recognised as intangible national heritage.
Director of the provincial department Nguyen Viet Thanh said Tuyen Quang is compiling a dossier to be submitted to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism seeking the accolade.
At present, Tuyen Quang has four pieces of heritage listed as national treasures: The Then singing and Long Tong (Field Work) Festival of Tay people and the Pao dung singing and Cap sac (coming of age) ritual of Dao people.