Tuesday, 21 Nov 2017
PHOTO GALLERY
Golden hands preserve traditional musical instruments in Dao Xa village
Updated at Thursday, 24 Aug 2017, 11:39
At the age of 76, Dao Van Soan is the oldest craftsman in musical instrument at Dao Xa (Dong Lo commune, Ung Hoa district, Hanoi). The nationally famous artisan is the only person in Vietnam to have received the titles National Folk Artisan and Hanoi’s Emeritus Artisan.
At the moment, his family involves in the craft also. His children try to succeed his business, learn from simple step to sophisticated ones of making a musical instrument with standard quality of sound and look.
For nearly 200 years, the craft village has been famous for popular traditional instruments. Villagers craft various types of traditional instruments, including the “dan bau” (a monochord), the “dan nguyet” (a full-moon-shaped guitar with two strings) and the “dan nhi” (an upright two-string fiddle)… The village consistently turns out instruments of the highest quality. The presence of Dao Xa artworks spreads widely from the South to the North regions of Vietnam. Especially, they are used in numerous performance shows to celebrate Vietnamese ethnical and traditional festivals.
In additional, Dao Xa products’ are well-known with foreign visitors.  Many of them take times and efforts coming to the village to buy themselves a satisfying instrument. In 2009, Dao Xa was recognized as Vietnamese traditional craft village.
Nationally famous artisan Dao Van Soan
Nationally famous artisan Dao Van Soan
According to Soan, the most difficult task is adjusting the instrument’s pitch and sound quality.
According to Soan, the most difficult task is adjusting the instrument’s pitch and sound quality.
"But it didn’t grow during the American war because of the economic difficulties. After the war, many locals left the village to work in Ho Chi Minh City, Thanh Hoa, or Nam Dinh province", said Mr Soan
"But it didn’t grow during the American war because of the economic difficulties. After the war, many locals left the village to work in Ho Chi Minh City, Thanh Hoa, or Nam Dinh province", said Mr Soan
Dao Xa’s musical instrument craft was founded by Dao Xuan Lan 200 years ago. In the middle of the 19th century, artisans moved to the Thang Long Citadel, called Hanoi today, and established a craft guild
Dao Xa’s musical instrument craft was founded by Dao Xuan Lan 200 years ago. In the middle of the 19th century, artisans moved to the Thang Long Citadel, called Hanoi today, and established a craft guild
Traditional musical instruments made by artisan Soan and other Dao Xa villager craftsmen have become well-known in the traditional music community at home and abroad.
Traditional musical instruments made by artisan Soan and other Dao Xa villager craftsmen have become well-known in the traditional music community at home and abroad.
There are numerous step from simple to sophisticated ones to make a musical instrument.
There are numerous steps from simple to sophisticated ones to make a musical instrument.
Mr. Hao, a trader of traditional musical instruments in Hang Hom Street, Hanoi, said “It’s impossible to confuse Dao Xa instruments with products from other places, because of the expertise of Dao Xa artisans. The craft know-how is handed down by word of mouth and monitored on the spot.”
Soan said "The craft requires a lot of patience, skill, and energy. An instrument builder must master or, at least, know carpentry, not to mention having a good ear for music. It’s a matter of understanding wood, from selecting and drying the wood to shaping the body, attaching the neck, polishing, smoothing, fitting the strings, and completing the final decoration. All the work is done manually using traditional techniques."
Soan's children try to succeed his business, learn from simple step to sophisticated ones of making an music instrument with standard quality of sound and look.
Soan's children try to succeed his business, learn from simple steps to sophisticated ones of making an music instrument with standard quality of sound and look.
The nearly-complete products
The nearly-completed products
although Dao Xa has supplied a large proportion of Vietnam’s musical instruments, none of the local instrument builders are professionally trained in music.
Although Dao Xa has supplied a large proportion of Vietnam’s musical instruments, none of the local instrument builders are professionally trained in music.
The village consistently turns out instruments of the highest quality.
The village consistently turns out instruments of the highest quality.
 
 
Van Phuc - Cam Anh
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