return icon

Khen (panpine) – soul of Mong ethnic people

Although modern culture has been present in every corner of mountainous hamlets, the passion for melodies of Khen (panpine) has never ceased among men of the Mong ethnic group.

Khen (panpine) – soul of Mong ethnic people hinh anh 1

It takes artisans about three days to complete a panpine. (Photo: VNA)

Khen (panpine) has played an important role in the cultural and spiritual life of the Mong people in the northernmost province of Ha Giang.

Meticulously made

The Mong people make up the majority of the population on Dong Van Karst Plateau in Ha Giang province. Khen, a traditional musical instrument indispensable in their daily life, has created a unique feature of the local culture.

Its shape, structure and sound function have made the panpine unique. Notably, its sounds come through both exhalation and inhalation.

Each panpine has six bamboo tubes of different lengths and widths, arranged closely together with one end connected to a gourd. The brass bar (the reed) is the only part made of metal.

Panpine gourds are usually made of pine wood, kimgiao (Nageiafleuryi) and po mu (Chamaecyparishodginsii).


Khen (panpine) – soul of Mong ethnic people hinh anh 2

The brass bar (the reed) is the only part made of metal. (Photo: VNA)

There are no common standards for panpine making which, however, requires ingenuity, patience and experience.

Khen is often played at Mong festivals and New Year celebrations by young Mong men who dance at the same time to show off their strength, sensibility and skills. They learn to play the musical instrument when they are small. Boys often carry a Khen to terraced fields or market fairs.

At festivals, the melodies of Khen echo over mountains and forests, expressing wishes of the Mong people. Mong men who play the Khen and dance exceptionally well are admired by villagers. At funeral ceremonies, the panpine, on behalf of the living, talks to the soul of the dead. Meanwhile, at wedding parties, it conveys parents’ wishes to their children.

Preserving the craft

Although local residents have seen their living standards improved significantly, they still preserved the art of panpine making. Local artisans in hamlets have continued to make the traditional musical instrument.

Sung Trai is one of the communes in the Dong Van Karst Plateau where panpine making has been preserved.

Born in 1985, MuaMiTua started playing the panpine when he was 14, and is currently the youngest in Sung Trai commune who knows how to play the instrument.

The man said his passion for the panpine was nurtured when he was small, and he can make panpines himself.

"Once you know how to play the panpine and understand its melodies, you can make a good panpine," Tua said.


Khen (panpine) – soul of Mong ethnic people hinh anh 3

Mua Mi Tua, an artisan in Tia Sung hamlet, Sung Trai commune, Ha Giang province’s Dong Van district (Photo: VNA)

Over the past years, with support of local authorities, many panpaine making groups have been established, and training classes opened, aiming to preserve the traditional craft and promoting local tourism.

Pham Quoc Lap, head of Dong Van district’s Culture and Information Bureau, said in an effort to preserve and promote traditional cultural values of ethnic minorities in the district in general, and the Mong people in particular, Dong Van district has restored traditional festivals and craft villages associated with tourism development and poverty alleviation.

Legend has it that long ago, an old couple gave birth to six children. When they passed away, the children cried their eyes out and blew through small bamboo tubes to tell of their sorrows for the death of their parents and the loss of their love. Thereafter, the Mong people started to compose touching melodies to show their sentiments toward their ancestors.

Despite changes in society, the Mong have preserved the Khen as the soul of their culture. Many men continue to make the instrument and pass on the techniques to younger people.

The panpine gained the national intangible heritage status from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism in 2015.

Source: VNA

Preservation of the Mong’s rattan weaving craft

Preservation of the Mong’s rattan weaving craft

Mong people make up 90% of the inhabitants in Lao Chai Commune of the northern mountainous province of Yen Bai. Their lives depend largely on agriculture and forestry.


Corporate bond market struggling with challenges

The size of the corporate bond market is estimated at some VND1,374 trillion, equivalent to 15% of GDP. The Government aims to raise this figure to 20% by 2025.

President requires greater efforts to promote value of Ngoc Linh ginseng

Ngoc Linh ginseng deserves the "National treasure" title, and it is necessary to strongly promote the role of this treasure in improving people's livelihoods, President Nguyen Xuan Phuc said .

EVFTA outpaces CPTPP in preference utilisation rate

The utilisation rate of tax incentives set out in the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) during Q1 soared by over 32%, representing a four-fold rise compared to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

Refusal to issue visas to new VN passport causes problems for travel firms

The rejection of Vietnam’s new passport by some EU member countries is affecting HCM City tourism companies since their customers are unable to travel to those countries.

Vietnam set to scrap COVID quarantine for imported processed seafood

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has removed COVID-related quarantine requirements for frozen processed seafood products imported for the purpose of reprocessing for export.

HCM City seeks to boost technology transfer from universities

Huynh Kim Tuoc, managing director of Sai Gon Innovation Hub's (SiHub) Start-up Support Centre under the HCM City Department of Science and Technology, affirmed Vietnam holds tremendous potential for technology development

Vigilance urged against COVID-19 amid emergence of new epidemics

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh asked ministries, agencies and localities to maintain vigilance against COVID-19 while addressing a meeting in Hanoi on Saturday.

Vietnamese, British agencies coordinate in identifying fire victims

The Consular Department under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Vietnamese Embassy in the UK will continue to coordinate with Vietnamese and British agencies to identify victims in a blaze in Greater Manchester on May 7.

Photo contest highlighting beauty of Vietnamese islands kicks off

Professional and amateur photographers across Vietnam are encouraged to compete in a photo contest highlighting the beauty of Vietnamese Hoang Sa and Truong Sa islands.

Enjoying Quang-style noodle soup in the place where it was born

Phu Chiem Village in Dien Phuong Commune, Dien Ban District, Quang Nam Province, is where the popular Quang-style noodle soup was first created. And where better to taste this specialty than the place where it was born.

Exploring hidden spots on Co To Island

Aside from white sand, the blue sea and fresh air, Co To Island in Quang Ninh Province has several other beautiful spots that are worth a visit.

Vietnamese leaders extend sympathy to Cuba over oil tank explosion

Top Vietnamese leaders have sent messages of sympathy to their Cuban counterparts over severe losses caused by a massive blaze in an oil storage facility in Cuba’s province of Matanzas on August 5.

CNN reporter loves Vietnamese fish sauce

Chris Dwyer, a reporter for CNN, says he has loved Vietnamese fish sauce made in Phu Quoc (South Vietnam), though it was not easy to taste at the beginning.

Apple CEO Tim Cook appreciates Vietnam market potential

Vietnam, together with Brazil, Indonesia and India that are emerging markets, have made practical contributions to Apple’s group’s outstanding performance in the second quarter of this year, said CEO Tim Cook.

Electronics manufacturers ‘forget’ to recall or recycle used products

Large electronics manufacturers are still not willing to participate in the collecting and recycling of electronic waste to ensure a good living environment for people.