Cong Chieng (Gong)
For more than three thousand years, members of the more than twenty ethenic minority cultures of the Tay Nguyen region of Vietnam- the centre highlands- have practiced gong music.
The cultural space of the gongs in Viet Nam covers the five Central Highlands provinces of Dac Lac, Dac Nong, Kon Tum, Gia Lai and Lam Dong.The gongs are closely associated with the life of Central Highlanders. They serve as the voice of the people’s souls and spirits, reflecting their joys and sorrows in daily life and activities.
The gongs appear in most rituals and ceremonies, such as weddings, New Year celebrations, new rice harvests, communal house warnings, farewell ceremonies for soldiers and other occasions.
Traditional gong musical performance is so inti-mately tied to the artistic, religious, and philo-sophical beliefs and is so closely linked to the affairs of life of these communities, one may say that the cultural identitied of the various highland groups are bound up specifically with their individual gong cultures.
On November 25th 2005, gong music from Tay Nguyen was recognised as the World Oral and Intangible Heritage by UNESCO.