Pham Phao villagers make brass instruments

Pham Phao is a peaceful Catholic diocese in Hai Minh commune. The village name contains the surname of a majority of the villagers – Pham. The Pham clan is one of the four clans credited with having reclaimed Hai Hau district. From above, the village resembles a cannon, or phao, hence the name Pham Phao. In the early 16th century, Catholicism was introduced to the village. When Pham Phao Cathedral was built in 1908, a brass orchestra was established. Ever since that date, the orchestra has been maintained to perform at church services and village events. At first all the orchestra’s brass instruments were imported. If they broke, it was expensive and took a long time to send them abroad to be repaired. Villager Nguyen Xuan Phat told VOV: “The Western brass orchestra played music for religious and social events. This led to a need to have their brass instruments repaired. Eventually, the villagers learned how to fix the broken instruments themselves and then how to make new instruments.” Today, Pham Phao villagers are masters of repairing and making brass instruments as well as playing them. Initially no more than ten families in the village were involved in brass instrument making. As playing brass instruments became more popular in Nam Dinh and neighboring provinces, as many as 70% of the local families took up the trade. The family of Nguyen Van Cuong has practiced the craft for decades now. Cuong says karma binds him to the craft, adding that, “The brass… [Read full story]


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