Klong Put, the hand-made musical instrument has unique shapes and sounds which distinguish Bana music from the music of other Vietnamese ethnic groups. Living close to nature, the Bana have made many musical instruments from available materials like stone, wood, bamboo, rattan, leaves and dried gourds.
Hundreds of years ago the Bana created diverse kinds of musical instruments, the most typical of which are the Chinh Gong and drum.
The round, bronze gongs measure 20cm to 60cm in diameter. A set of Bana gongs usually has 3 large gongs with a raised boss or nipple in the center and 10 smaller gongs called “chieng”. The Bana use a wooden stick with one end padded with a piece of cloth to strike the gongs. The larger gongs produce a deeper sound, while the smaller chiengs produce a higher pitch. In a performance, the gongs are divided and played in groups.
Gong performance is the soul of the gong culture space of the Central Highlands, which was recognized by UNESCO as a world intangible cultural heritage.
The Bana have produced several kinds of musical instruments made from bamboo: the T’rung, the K’long Put, the Ding Jong, and the Dinh Hor as well as stringed instruments like the Ting Ning and the K’ni.
The T’rung is one of the most popular musical instruments of the Bana. Bamboo tubes of graduated sizes are tied together by rattan strings. One end of the tubes is blocked while the other end is diagonally cut to produce different tones that sound like a murmuring brook, a crashing waterfalls or a wind blowing through bamboo trees.
The Ting Ninh has a special design. It’s a long, hard bamboo tube with both ends blocked. The Ting Ninh has 10 to 18 waxed-silk strings. Some artisans enhance the instrument’s sound by attaching a dried gourd below.
Young Bana men usually play the Goong on dating nights, because it produces a warm, whispering sound.
Other interesting bamboo instruments are the Po-chet, a water instrument, and the Reng-reo, a windchime, which produce sounds when water runs or wind blows though them.
Visiting a Bana hamlet to attend their spring festivals provide the lucky tourist a fantastic opportunity to hear the unique sound of their musical instruments echoing in the immense mountain forest.