The dance of the mountainous region

Dec 6th 2017.

The sacred fire has glowed in the middle of the village. The sound of the gong and the drum blend harmoniously with the rokel musical instrument playing the charming, gentle T’rumpo in the rhythm of inviting gods; the jubilant Pahhonang seems to, hastily invite people to join; Arya conjures up the night of endless fun… These are the legendary Tamya dances that have once failed to exist in the memory of the Churu in Lam Dong, but now resurrect fiercely.

“Tamya is dancing. Arya, T’rumpo, Păhgăngăng, Damtôra… are the dances.

For the Churu, in community events, there must be indispensable Tamya on the music of the drums (sogor), cymbals (sar), rokel (monochord) … It is an important ceremony in the Churu spiritual life and cultural community, “artist Touneh Ma Bio (Diom A tribe, Lac Xuan commune, Don Duong district, Lam Dong), said.

Ma Bio performs gongs

Ma Bio performs gongs

The moonlight illuminates the sacred mountain. The flickering fire, the rhythm of the gong, the rốkel intertwine the naked legs of the mountainous boys and girls. “Conductor” Ma Arya Arya starts the Arya dance, the folk dance and invites guests to drink Cần wine and dance. This is a highly publicized dance, representing national unity and is often used in festivals, concerts, with rather simple movements, so many people can join. “Arya is the opening and ending dance that depends on the air, the time of the festival, the connection. It is simple, but the sophistication lies in the shape of the fingers, whoever is sharp-witted can spotlight who dances beautifully, “said Nai Luyến, student of artist Ma Bio.

The connection ceremony between the villages and tribes and in festivals

According to old people in Diom A tribe, in the past, Arya originated from worshipping ceremonies. Then, the rustic dance movements had become folk dances, often used to start cultural festivals, the connection ceremony between the villages and tribes and in festivals. The moonlight gradually fades. Artist Ma Bio beats the gong, Ya Nam keeps the rhythm of the sogor at slow pace, as the background for the Arya dance. Under the moonlight, Churu females take part in the melodious, soft dance, like the sacred bond between past, present and future.

To the Churu, when the sơgơr, sar, rokel are played, it means the message of the villagers was approved by their gods. The connection between humans and the invisible god is established through each piece of music, dance, defined strictly by the community on the mode of performance and singing. If Arya is a great dance for fun, T’rumpo is considered a sacred dance, tight in tone, courteous in a rhythmic invocation. In the religious life of the Churu, they often worship the god of rice, the temple god, the Dam god, the god of ancient trees … and are sacrificed in a certain cycle, by the community convention. The pace of the gong sound, and the rhythm of the drum still mix together, slowly. Bending the wine draw, Ya Chang village chief said: “Churu people apply a wet rice cultivation, therefore the festival is mainly agricultural rituals, stretching throughout the farming cycle, with many related worships, such as early crop ceremony, seed-sowing ceremony, rice flowering ceremony, washing the feet of buffaloes … Often after the rituals is the T’rumpo dance, to connect gods.”

A dance of the Churu

A dance of the Churu

Night enjoy the fun with music and dance

The forest fire flickers, the Da Nhim River murmurs its melancholic sound; the old man keeps silent, the back bent down, in the Ksta Dak Lak gentle rhythm, swinging, greeting intimate friends in the middle of the deep forest. Stopping playing the lekel, old Ya Hin said: “Along with the dance above, the Churu also have the Đămtơra dance to connect boys and girls. Therefore, when they grew up they already know this dance. The dances have open, melodious rhythm, with similar dance moves, but men go faster than women. This is also a chance for boys and girls to strike up friendships. The girls find a place to “capture” their husband”.

A night to enjoy fun, music, dance in the festival of the great national unity, people, regardless of Kinh, ethnic, young and old, boys or girls, eat the gifts from Gods, the produce bestowed on people by god they bend the wine straw, drinking, talking, making friends, dancing and singing … among the slow and fast sounds of the gongs, drums, trumpets.

Then, when the moonlight sank at the end of the village, they play the musical piece of Păhgơnăng to send their guests off.

In community events

“Each gong, each Churu dance sends a message to gods, to the forest, to the community… It is in the very sacred space of the village that the cultural space feeds on it,” Ma Bio said. The human heart, the soul of the gong and the passionate, earnest Tamya dances, all have blended together, whispering their emotion in the gong music, the long- winded lekel resound up to the top of the mountain. Therefore, in their community events Churu people use gong music, or the “combination” of gongs, drums, lekel… with the dance, from ritual offerings, to weddings, funerals.

Tamya was born on the same ancient music bearing the same name as the dance. Therefore, performances of “body language” cannot lack gong rhythm and vice versa, the long gong sound without people dancing will also be “out of tune”, lack of elicitation. Gongs, drums, monochords and Tamya must blend together, when people play on the top of the mountain, when they dance in the ring of Xoang dance, and enjoy the festival…

By Mai Van Bao

The dance of the mountainous region
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