Thursday, April 28, 2011

Khánh Sơn - homeland

Khánh Sơn, a mountainous district of Khánh Hòa province is rich in natural resources and potentials. Khánh Sơn pass is a must to overcome to arrive at a beautiful spot, Khánh Sơn is home to different ethnic groups: Êđê, Tày, Kinh… Khánh Sơn people have a cultural life of a community and Khánh Sơn is said to be homeland of stone musical sets (dating back to thousand years) have been found here. Beyond Tô Hạp town is Sơn Bình commune, a river to surprise us by its upstream flow. It’s beyond all explanations why it’s not downstream but upstream – to highland birds are plentiful. There is a forest of 3-leafpine like in Đà Lạt, streams Lớn (big), Nhỏ (small) and Đá Nhảy are good stop -overs to view the scenes.

The most wonderful site in Khánh Sơn is water -fall Tà Gụ, a nice fall, 15m high, in the wild forest. At the foot of the fall, it’s a small lake where we can take a fresh bath.

The peculiar sounds of stone musical set “mà giá” attract numerous tourists whose ambition to see with their naked eyes and to hear the melodious sounds from stone pieces. The elderly mà giá prepare eco -tourism itinerary right in his gardens, fields by side of a stream and close to a shady forest, just to make his stone musical instrument more honorable and more valuable. Tourists can avail themselves of the small but cozy houses, forest or sit on stones by stream sides to enjoy the musical sounds.

To set consists of 4-stone-bars tied to 4 strong columns by rattans and 4 smaller stone used to strike fastens by a long rope to control the striking. The control-point is a pipe made of banana bark. When the pipe is full of water, it will pull the stones down, the water fill out that make the pipe return to starting –point which help make small stones strike on stone bars to have sounds. Low or high melodies depend on whether the stones are tied close to or higher up from the earth.

How interesting it’s to be in an evening in a stilt-house, drinking alcohol (rượu cần), eating baked chicken or chicken-soup, newrice, and listen to melodies tunes from stone sets harmonized with sounds of drums and gongs. It’s quite relaxing.

                                                                          ÁNH TRINH

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