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Then practice becomes intangible cultural heritage of humanity

“Then” singing practice of Vietnam’s ethnic groups of Tay, Nung, Thai has been named in UNESCO's list of Intangible Cultural Heritages of Humanity.

Then performance reflects the cultural characteristics of those ethnic groups, from music to dancing and musical instruments.

As a unique combination of music and song, Then singing is traditionally accompanied by a handmade gourd lute, called Dan Tinh.

The art form, which combines a wide range of arts such as literature, music, painting and performance, has had an impact on local and national identities through its influence on literature, music, dance, rituals and spiritual practices.

Closely linked with the spiritual life of ethnic minority groups who often use ceremonial offerings to treat illnesses, Then singing is also seen as a therapy, together with medicine, helping to ease the worries of patients and their families.

Then singing was included in Vietnam’s list of intangible heritages in 2012.