return icon

Preserving Nung ethnic group’s soul through folk songs

Nong Dung Long, a Nung ethnic minority man in Phon Xuong Town, Yen The District, Bac Giang Province, said that today many Nung people cannot speak their traditional language so he recorded their folk songs in a notebook.

Meritorious artist Nong Dung Long (left) exchanging the Nung ethnic minority group's folk melodies with his friend. (Photo:

From a farm worker…

Long’s notebook consists of hundreds of Nung ethnic folk songs that he remembered and collected from artisans in the district. He even composed the lyrics for several songs, praising his homeland, nation, Party, Uncle Ho and family love. The notebook is also considered as his main “lesson plan” in teaching young people who love the folk music of the Nung ethnic minority group.

Nung folk music is diverse, but Soong Hao and luon singing are the main types. Soong Hao means “two of us” in the Nung language. Soong Hao and luon songs are often performed at village fairs and at new year festivals to exchange greetings and love among young people.

Perhaps the singing, the joy of living and the love for traditional folk songs have helped the nearly 80-year-old man remain as youthful and healthy as he now. When he was 16-17 years old, Long followed his friends to sing Soong Hao. He then worked for Dong Tien afforestation yard in Yen The District when he was 20. With a good voice, he often sang many songs, especially the Nung ethnic group’s folk songs, to entertainother workers during break time.

In 1991, he retired following over 30 years of working in the forestry sector. He always wondered how to contribute to restoring his ethnic group’s folk music. Despite his difficult life, he spent much time collecting the folk songs of the Nung people - such as inviting water, inviting betel, inviting wine, new year greetings and happy birthday songs. His plan to form a Soong Hao singing club was accepted by the Phon Xuong communal administration in 2001. The club’s name was changed into the Nung ethnic minority folk singing club.

At first, the club had only seven members in the commune. However, the beauty of Nung folk songs has attracted more people from other localities. As a result, the club now consists of 20 members. They gather once a month at Dong Nhan Village’s cultural house to learn the basic techniques in singing Nung folk songs. So far, the club’s members have learnt dozens of songs by heart.

They have also given performances to local people on the occasions of New Year Festival and holidays and important political events, notably Yen The Festival. At the 2017 Yen The District’s Mass Art Festival, Ma Thi Cuc and Ma Thi Toan (7 years old), the youngest members of the club won an A prize and the award for the youngest contestants.

… to meritorious artist title

Over the past 20 years, the club has operated regularly on the spirit of volunteer. The instructors have taught others without any fee. Long’s family completely supported his plans. Despite his scanty pension, he invested millions of Vietnamese dongs in amplifiers and loudspeakers, creating conditions for the club’s members to practice and familiarise themselves with the stage’s atmosphere.

He has participated in many arts festivals in the district and province and gained many high prizes. He said: “I cannot remember all the awards. I only remember the B prize at the folk dance and singing competition in Bac Giang Province in 2002. In the same year, the Yen The District People’s Committee presented many certificates of merit to me for my achievements at the provincial festivals. I also bagged the C prize at the provincial ethnic minority groups’ cultural festival in 2003 and B prize at Bac Giang elderly’s singing voice competition in 2009”.

At the age of nearly 80 years old, Long still proactively joined many other social works in addition to being the head of the Nung Folk Singing Club. He is a member of the board of Phon Xuong communal elderly arts club and Quan ho (love duet) singing club. In 2019, the Phon Xuong commune received a certificate of merit from the Bac Giang provincial Department of Culture and Tourism for its achievements in cultural, sport and tourism movements.

In recognition of his contributions to preserving and promoting the nation’s intangible heritages, Long was honoured with the Meritorious Artist title in 2019. He has tried his best to preserve the Nung ethnic minority group’s soul through folk songs. Nhan Dan

'Then' singing signals arrival of Spring for ethnic groups in Bac Giang

'Then' singing signals arrival of Spring for ethnic groups in Bac Giang

“Then” singing is a cultural activity imbued with the belief and art of the Tay and Nung ethnic minority people in Bac Giang province. 

Soong hao rhythms bridge Tay ethnic couples closer

Soong hao rhythms bridge Tay ethnic couples closer

When talking about love duets, many people think of Quan Ho, a sweet folk music originating in Bac Ninh province. 


Vietnam, Cuba strive to lift two-way trade to US$500 million in next five years

The Vietnam-Cuba business promotion forum took place in Hanoi on September 30, seeing the participation of visiting Cuban Prime Minister Manuel Marrero Cruz and Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Le Minh Khai.

Vietnam defeat Saudi Arabia, top Group D at AFC Futsal Asian Cup

Vietnam beat Saudi Arabia 3-1 at the AFC Futsal Asian Cup 2022 in Kuwait on September 30, thereby topping Group D and having a high chance of securing a berth in the quarter-finals.

EuroCham Chairman praises strong and forward-looking government

Vietnam’s recovery has been ensured by strong and forward-looking government support which helped to bring in more high-profile FDI projects

Many firms suspend raising capital from stock market

Many enterprises have either stopped mobilizing capital or changed their capital-raising plans on the stock market amid existing uncertainties and disadvantages.

HCM City runs out of Covid-19 vaccines

HCM City has run out of Covid-19 vaccines over the past 10 days, said Nguyen Hong Tam, the deputy director of the municipal Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.


Chinese police hand over wanted man to Lao Cai authorities

Foreign-invested enterprises face up to procedural barriers

Administrative procedures such as a prolonged timeline for obtaining business licences, as well as overlaps in the legal framework, are continuing to affect the expansion plans of many foreign-invested enterprises in Vietnam. Vietnam among ten attractive destinations to escape Europe’s winter

With its year-round warm tropical climate, breathtakingly beautiful scenery, and exciting culture, Vietnam is gradually becoming an attractive destination for German tourists.


Real estate sector faces debt default risk

Shan Tuyet tea, valuable timber plants named ‘Vietnam Heritage Trees’

More than 1,300 Shan Tuyet tea plants in Ha Giang province and a group of valuable timber trees in Dak Nong province have been recognised as “Vietnam Heritage Trees”.

Fast fashion brands scale up for growth

Surviving and developing in a competitive fast fashion market remains a challenge for many brands, especially for newcomers.

Arguments arise as properties required to be traded on exchange

Controversy has arisen over the Ministry of Construction’s draft of the amended law on real estate trading as it requires real estate products to be traded on an official exchange.

Boeing accelerates cooperation with Vietnamese suppliers

Boeing, the world’s leading aerospace company based in the US, are accelerating cooperation with Vietnamese suppliers and universities to provide a foundation for long-term industrial growth.

Expecting coffee exports to hit a record $4 billion

Vietnam Coffee Cocoa Association (Vicofa) forecasted that if the export price of coffee remained at a high level, as in the first half of the year

Major investors worry as stock market weakens

The stock market boards have been covered with red amid investors’ rising caution. There are few buyers, while selling pressure still exists. Foreign investors’ behavior has affected the market.