Cultural authorities of the northwestern province of Tuyen Quang are completing a profile on hat then (then singing) to submit to UNESCO as intangible cultural heritage.
Then singing is typical of the Tay and Nung ethnic groups, living mainly in the north-west, and is presented at important events of the community.
Then melodies consist of several stanzas accompanied by a tinh tau (a two or three-string instrument).
The provincial Culture, Sports and Tourism Department director, Nguyen Viet Thanh, said a profile of the art form is expected to be completed by the end of this year. It will be submitted to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism before being sent to the UN cultural agency.
At the moment, there are two veteran then singers in Tuyen Quang, who can remember the old melodies, including those sang in the cap sac ceremony (a ritual to recognise a new shaman), then ky yen (songs to pray for luck) and those sang on festive occasions.
In order to promote the art form, the province has set up cultural tourism villages, to give people access to this "cultural speciality".
UNESCO has already recognised as intangible cultural heritage: ca tru (chamber music) in the North, quan ho (love duet) in the northern province of Bac Ninh, xoan singing in the northern province of Phu Tho, gong culture space in the Central Highlands and the Giong Festival in Hanoi.