Soong Co singing, a national intangible cultural heritage of the San Chi in Quang Ninh
Update: May 20, 2024
In late spring, when farm work is less busy, the San Chi ethnic minority people in  Binh Lieu district of Quang Ninh province organize their Soong Co Festival. The event has been held for hundreds of years and Soong Co singing, now a national intangible cultural heritage, continues to be popular. 

San Chi people in Quang Ninh province sing Soong Co by a stream. (Photo:

Soong Co means call-and-response or love duet. It’s been a cultural practice of many generations of the San Chi people, who live mainly in Binh Lieu, Tien Yen, and Ba Che districts of Quang Ninh province.

Sen Thi Ha, a Binh Lieu resident talked to us about the Soong Co songs she knows by heart.

“I’ve listened to Soong Co songs since I was born. We sing Soong Co when we visit other hamlets, attend weddings, or go to festivals. Boys and girls sing throughout the night and sing a farewell song in the morning.”

San Chi people sing Soong Co whenever and wherever they meet each other, on a mountain, in a field, or by a river. They sing without any musical accompaniment, and their voices are carried on the wind. Sometimes one man and one woman sing a call and response, and sometimes groups sing back and forth. The lyrics reflect daily life and work, nature, the nation, and love. 

Soong Co is performed to serve tourists in Huc Dong commune, Binh Lieu district, Quang Ninh province.

The Soong Co Festival is held on March 16 of the lunar calendar. Trac Van Thin, one of the best Soong Co singers, said he knows hundreds of old and new Soong Co songs and teaches them to young people.

“I learned to sing Soong Co when I was a teenager. I sing at all annual festivals and celebrations. I and other members of the Soong Co Club are trying to preserve the melody by teaching it to young people.”

Since 2005, Binh Lieu district has held the annual Soong Co Festival on a large scale, which has attracted many tourists, including Ngo Huy Thai from Bac Ninh province.

“This is the second time I’ve attended the Soong Co Festival in Binh Lieu district. The event has revitalized the local ethnic culture. I feel fortunate to have experienced the local people’s warmth, generosity, and hospitality,” said Thai. 

Late last year, the Soong Co singing of the San Chi in Binh Lieu, Ba Che, Dam Ha, and Tien Yen district and Mong Cai city of Quang Ninh province was recognized as a National Intangible Cultural Heritage.

VOVWORLD - - May 17, 2024