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The busy year-end day of the craftsman who makes the Spring festival musical instrument

In Ha Tinh, there is a family that has maintained the profession of making drums for generations. These days, the craftsman who makes the typical spring festival musical instrument races against time to pay “orders” to customers.

Mr. Bui Van Dong (41 years old) was born and raised in a family with 3 generations of drumming in Bac Thai village, Thach Hoi commune, Thach Ha district, Ha Tinh province. 

With a long tradition, it can be said that Bac Thai is currently the only place in Ha Tinh to do this profession. In particular, 15 households making drums all have the surname Bui.

Dong’s working day starts early in the morning. Drum making works all year round, but the Lunar New Year receives the most orders, which is the busiest season. In addition to customers in the province, the production facility of Mr. Dong’s family received many orders from Nghe An, Quang Binh, and even in Dak Lak.

In the past, there were no supporting machines, sawing and chiseling was very hard, and had to hire more workers to support them. Now, the worker’s job is a little less difficult.

In order to make drums that are popular with the market, quality materials must first be obtained. Many months ago, Mr. Dong went everywhere, especially to the mountains, to find and buy jackfruit trees that are over a hundred years old. This type of wood is less termite, elastic.

The drum face is made of cowhide. This material is ordered from slaughterhouses in the province. It must be the skin of an old cow over 10 years old. After collecting, the skin needs to be exposed to the sun for 10 days.

Acquiring quality materials is difficult, the stages of making a drum are even more arduous and difficult. “Drum of cowhide, chang jackfruit, belted song”, that is, cow skin is used as the surface of the drum, jackfruit wood is used for the body of the drum, rattan, also known as song, is used as a belt for the drum. This is the recipe that generations of artisans in Bac Thai village have passed on to each other in order to preserve and promote this craft. In order to make a durable and resonant drum, the worker must be meticulous and persistent in doing 10 stages within a week to a few months.

Two months before Tet , Mr. Dong’s facility received an order for 20 drums, the largest one with a diameter of 1.6-1.7m, priced at VND35-40 million. Excluding costs, he made a profit of about 15-20 million VND / unit.

As for the small drum with a diameter of about 30cm, the price is 600,000 VND/piece, and Mr. Dong’s profit is 300,000 VND. In addition to making new drums, workers also repair and replace old drums. The Lunar New Year season is the perfect season for Northern Thai workers. Excluding expenses, Mr. Dong earned about 200 million VND.($1=25,000 VND)

Mr. Bui Van Nghiem, Chairman of Thach Hoi Drum and Construction Services Cooperative, said that the locality has 15 households with more than 30 workers who are “keeping the fire” for the traditional craft village. There are families with 3-4 generations working together.

“Drum-making in Bac Thai dates back to the last century, but so far it still helps to create jobs and bring prosperity to many households. Not only that, we are also proud of the sound of the drums we make. resound in festivals on the occasion of Tet to Spring,” said Mr. Nghiem. 

According (Dan Tri) 

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