Researchers save Central Highlands epics

Researchers fear the epics of ethnic minority groups in the Central Highlands might get lost into oblivion. So they are spending their time and energy to visit the elders in local communities to record epics, and are even hiring people to translate and print the lyrics for preservation. Ng​uyen Quang Tue (right) often makes field trips to Ba Na villages to record old people singing epics Epics are stories describing the early days of an ethnic group. They talk about the valour of the group’s ancestors in fighting with adversaries and struggling to survive in the wild. The stories have both good and bad characters, with the good folks winning at the end. Epics are either sung or read out loud like stories. Community elders can sing night after night. In the past, the Ba Na used to gather at the village communal house to listen to epics recited by elders. The epic of the Ba Na in Gia Lai province was recognised as the National Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2014. Dedication to preserve heritage Nguyen Quang Tue, head of the Culture Heritage Management Department under Gia Lai province’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism is a dedicated staff. He is a member of the Kinh majority group that is highly respected by the local Ba Na people. He is often found at the houses of epic reciters to listen to their songs and record them. Ask him about his work, and he will answer with a smile, “The task… [Read full story]

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