The ethnic tribes of the Central Highlands, groups like the Xe Dang, Gia Rai and the Bahnar, play an instrument called the Klong Put in the Xe Dang language. There are a series of bamboo tubes that are laid horizontally with the player, usually a woman, either bending over or kneeling in order to play it. The woman claps her hands a few centimetres away from the end of a tube to force air through the hollow tubes to create the sound. The tubes can be as long as 200 cm, though they go from 60 cm upwards. Their diameter varies from 5 cm to 8 cm and each tube will create a single unique tone.
Some tribes actually block one end of the tube which changes the tone created. It does increase the range of the Klong Put. It does mean that occasionally it will be two girls ‘’playing’’ the instrument, one blocking an end and the other clapping.
The Central Highlands region is now regularly part of Vietnam travel packages and if you have a particular interest in the Highlands during your holiday in Vietnam, you have only to ask your travel agent to get it included.
It plays an important role during the rice planting season traditionally. If it is played while the rice is being sown the belief is that ‘’Mother Rice’’ will help the rice grow quickly. Once the rice is stored, she will sleep in the storage places and come out when it is time for planting again.
There is a huge amount of superstition in Vietnamese life, especially in the rural areas where life can be hard. Any tradition that can help the harvest will always be followed year after year. That includes the use of the Klong Put at the appropriate times.