return icon

Secrets behind drums that cost hundred million VND

For nearly 200 years, the art of drum-making has been handed down to  generations of craftsmen from Binh An village who use their aural skills during the 20 manual phases required to make perfect products.


Hậu duệ làng nghề 200 năm tuổi kể bí mật làm chiếc trống trăm triệu đồng

Leather drums from Binh An traditional drum-making village are renowned for their first-class design and good sound


Hundreds of years in the profession

Binh An drum village (Binh Lang commune, Tan Tru district, Long An province), during the early days of spring, grows busier than ever when the sound of drum making and testing echoes in the quiet of the village.

Mr. Nguyen Van An, owner of a reputable drumming facility in Binh An village, said: “My father said that the ancestor of Binh An drum village was my forebear Nguyen Van Ty. Leather drums back then were very simple. There has been considerable advancement in design and sound quality since the time of my great-grandfather and grandfather.”

However, it was not until the time of his father Mr. Nguyen Van Men that the leather drums in Binh An village were perfect in sound. An belongs to the 5th generation of craftspeople and is elevating the model and bringing products to foreign markets.

Hậu duệ làng nghề 200 năm tuổi kể bí mật làm chiếc trống trăm triệu đồng

The drums are made of buffalo hide and sao wood which first must be sun-dried.


Though sharing the same origin and facilities, individuals have their own skills and techniques. Therefore, only proficiency in drum making will equal a prosperous life, or else it is hard to live if you’re not qualified enough as poor quality drums can barely see a future.

There are 22 households in the village who work as drum makers, but only five are able to make a living by the profession. “It is challenging to make good drums and keep that a source of stable income. It demands passion and expertise and of course the aspiration to preserve traditional jobs,” said Mr. An.

In the last days of the year, prestigious artisans have to work restlessly as orders from communal houses and pagodas keep coming in.

Hậu duệ làng nghề 200 năm tuổi kể bí mật làm chiếc trống trăm triệu đồng

The process of skin stretching and sealing the drum is very delicate so that the final products come out with the best sound quality.

“Annually customer demand is at its peak during the last few days of the year. Therefore, we only have time to wind down until the afternoon of the 30th or the 1st of the new year... On the 4th day of Tet, we get right back to the flow because there are many traditional festivals held after the full moon of January," Mr. An added.

Sound quality says it all

Binh An leather drums are also available in international markets. According to Mr. An, recognized as a skilled craftsman years ago, the prerequisite for standard drums is the ear training technique.

Hậu duệ làng nghề 200 năm tuổi kể bí mật làm chiếc trống trăm triệu đồng

Pinning the drum handle seems effortless at first glance, but only skilled craftsmen are capable of it.


“Drums that are up to the mark have sound characteristics that vary from type to type. For instance, drums for dragon dances should be noise-like, sharp and clattering, while praise drums are expected to be deep, smooth and penetrating. Artisans can adeptly identify pitches, chords and rhythms solely by hearing. How adept the craftsmen are is manifested by the sound their drums make.”

Weather, aside from ear training, also plays an significant role in drum production since it affects the quality of the materials like wood and buffalo leather. Absolute dryness is required for the best results. The preferred wood is Golden Oak which can be bought from big sawmills and then whittled before sun drying.


Hậu duệ làng nghề 200 năm tuổi kể bí mật làm chiếc trống trăm triệu đồng

Buffalo hide used for the batter head is sun-dried until the desired waterlessness


While wood for small drums needs daily sun exposure, wood for big drums requires a whole year in the solar heat before it is ready. At Mr. An's drum factory, there are many wooden logs with large diameter of 3-4 humans’ embrace. These logs were bought decades ago and mainly are for large pagodas domestically and abroad. Such giant drums take many years to complete and cost up to several hundred million VND.

Hậu duệ làng nghề 200 năm tuổi kể bí mật làm chiếc trống trăm triệu đồng

No other drying methods are used but sunlight


Buffalo hide for drum sealing which is from back and shoulder skin is also dependent on the sun. Only natural daylight can dry the skin properly for successful production.

“Only these skin areas give the standard sound, but if bought on days of undesirable weather like rainy or cloudy days without prompt drying, the skin can't be used. The purchased skin can only be exposed to natural sun so that it slowly drains. If artificially dried, it will get brittle, unable to stretch the drum."

Hậu duệ làng nghề 200 năm tuổi kể bí mật làm chiếc trống trăm triệu đồng

A large diameter monolith has just been hollowed out to make the body of a giant drum



Hậu duệ làng nghề 200 năm tuổi kể bí mật làm chiếc trống trăm triệu đồng

Wood for giant drums requires months of hollowing. The cost for one from such monolithic wood is over 100 million VND


From January to the 3rd lunar month, drum manufacturers in Binh An village have to purchase and store the skin of more than 100 buffaloes which are enough for a year of production.

This job not only gives An a chance to contribute to preserving and developing traditional drum making but also keeps his chin up every time he hears the drums resounding on spring days.

Nguyen Son

9th generation descendant reveals know-how to make drums

9th generation descendant reveals know-how to make drums

With jackfruit wood and buffalo leather, the talented craftsman can make drums, creating the sounds of life.



Fire engulfs ancient house inside Quoc Tu Giam relic site in Hue City

A building in the UNESCO-recognised Quoc Tu Giam (Imperial Academy) relic in the imperial city of Huế was seriously damaged by fire on Wednesday afternoon.

Largest travel expo to kick off in HCM City in September

The International Travel Expo in HCM City, the largest travel exhibition in Vietnam, will be held at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Center (SECC) in District 7 in September.

Centralised bidding should be implemented to solve drugs and medical supplies shortage

A sudden increase in the number of patients has caused overloading and a shortage of equipment, medical supplies and chemicals at some central hospitals.


Denmark extends agri-food expertise to Vietnam

The Moffatts shoots video to promote the beauty of Vietnam

Canadian pop/rock band The Moffatts has visited Sa Pa, a famous tourist destination in the northern province of Lao Cai about 320 kilometres from Hanoi, and shot a music video to promote tourism.


Vietnam sends nearly 1 million guest workers in 2013-2021

Viettel wants to make chips amidst global shortage

Vietnam’s telecom giant Viettel Group has proposed developing and manufacturing chips for domestic and international markets.

Nguyen Danh Huy appointed as Deputy Minister of Transport

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh has signed a decision to appoint Mr. Nguyen Danh Huy, head of the Planning and Investment Department under the Ministry of Transport, as new Deputy Minister of Transport.

FLC, HAI face trading suspension

The Hochiminh Stock Exchange (HOSE) will ban FLC Group (FLC) and HAI Agrochem JSC (HAI) from trading their shares due to delays in releasing their audited 2021 financial reports.

Mid-Autumn Festival toy market in Hanoi crowded on evenings

The Mid-Autumn Festival is three weeks away, but many families and young people have flocked to Hang Ma Street (Hanoi) to go for a walk and buy toys.

Vietnam among best global destinations for foodies: Skyscanner

Skyscanner, a travel site based in Scotland, has named Vietnam among the world’s six best destinations for food lovers, alongside Mexico, India, Thailand, Nepal, and Singapore.

Vietnamese rapper 16 Typh hailed by famous hip-hop magazine

The prestigious music magazine HipHopDX has praised the music video of the hit “Million Dollar Boy” by Vietnamese rapper 16 Typh.

Vietnam's top tennis player enjoys record high in world rankings

Vietnam’s top tennis player Ly Hoang Nam has passed a milestone in his career when rising to the world’s No.332 in the latest Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) rankings.

Vietnamese cultural village to be built in Korea

A Vietnamese cultural village will be built in the county of Bonghwa, Gyeongbuk province, the Republic of Korea, heard a recent meeting between the county’s mayor Park Hyun-guk and Vietnamese Ambassador Nguyen Vu Tung.

PetroVietnam proposes US$19 billion oil refinery complex and national oil reserve

The Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) has proposed to the Government an investment in a refinery and petrochemical complex and a national reserve of crude oil and petroleum products in Long Son Petroleum Industrial Park.