Music for Hau Dong Ritual at Ninh Binh

  • Music for Hau Dong Ritual at Ninh Binh 00:00

During my stay at Ninh Binh, not only the sound of nature, luckily I could see and record Hau Đồng ritual at a temple in Tam Coc. Hau Đồng is a folk trance ritual, when a women become a medium for the demon spirit, and she would dance, trance, and change to several costumes based on the spirit during this 2-5 hours ritual.

This ritual is an old tradition of Vietnamese people. Despite the French colonial government and the early communist leader restriction, this ritual still survived and growing more popularity after the restriction became more lax after 1980s. In this ritual, a small ensemble consisting of three musicians accompanied every stage of the ritual and lead the medium for trance. This style of Hau Dong ritual music called Chau Van singing. The music and poetry performed in this folk art are blended with a variety of rhythms, pauses, tempos, stresses, and pitches. The genre originated in the Northern Delta region of Vietnam. The main musical instruments used in the genre are the Dan Nguyet or moon-shaped lute, and a set of phach, wooden sticks beaten together against a hollow bamboo[1].

The sounds of music produced by a cheap big speaker is really typical and unique. It has a distorted effect with a kind of echo sounds, in a contrast of quiet and meditative soundscape around Tam Coc, Ninh Binh.


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