Flute melodies of the Bru Van Kieu

The Bru Van Kieu live in the high mountainous region of Quang Binh province, central Vietnam. They have created several singing genres, dances, and musical instruments. The flute plays an important role in their cultural life.

The Van Kieu live in long stilt houses, whose size depends on the number of family members and their economic conditions. The two ends of the roof might be decorated with a pair of buffalo horns or two birds. Inside the house, from right to left, the first space is the living room, then spaces for grandparents, parents, children, and stores separated by partitions.

Folk songs, dances, and musical instruments of the Bru-Van Kieu in Quang Binh province has been performed in specific places and occasions. Some musical instruments are only used in worshiping rituals, while others are played at festivals and call-and-response singing sessions.

It’s important to find a good neohouzeaua, a species of bamboo which is slender and has long sections to make a flute with refined-sound. They often choose a full moon day, to cut the tree. The neohouzeau tree is dried on a shelf in the kitchen for 1 or 2 months. The artisan uses a red-hot iron awl to make holes on the neohouzeau piece.

The Van Kieu also have other kinds of flute such as Teril flute for young people blowing on dual-singing session and Kho lui flute for wedding.

The sound of the Pi flute echoes melodiously through jungles, reflecting the soul of the Van Kieu. The sound of the flute, religious belief, and other cultural values have united the Bru-Van Kieu community in the Truong Son range.

The Khui is a noteworthy flute, which reflects the Van Kieu’s thought of the world, social relationship, clan, and hamlet. When being played at festivals, the sound of the Khui flute conveys the inner feeling of the players.

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