Visiting Lam Yen Drum Village – The Quintessential Drum Craft Heritage of Quang Nam

July 15, 2020 6 mins to read

Lam Yen Drum Village in Quang Nam – the most renowned drum-making “brand” in the Quang region, is where many aspire to acquire drums that meet the standard, prompting them to journey to the heart of the village to place orders. The drums of Lam Yen Village have long been intertwined with the spiritual life and culture of the Vietnamese people, embodying irreplaceable values.

In the rich spiritual life of the people of Quang, the sound of gongs and drums has become an indispensable part of customs and diverse festivals here. If you happen to travel to Quang Nam, don’t forget to visit Lam Yen Drum Village in Dai Minh Dai Loc, Quang Nam, the birthplace of the sounds of festivals and the culture of this region. Visit for more information!

1. Where is Lam Yen Drum Village located?

Lam Yen Drum Village is situated in Nam hamlet, Dai Minh commune, Dai Loc district, Quang Nam province. Travelers from Hoi An can visit from the city center towards Hung Vuong Street, following the Thu Bon River, then turning right towards Giao Thuy Bridge. After turning right at Vien Electronics Store, head towards Quang Hue Bridge for about 4km to reach the destination.

2. Lam Yen Drum Village and its 200-year history

No one knows the exact time Lam Yen Drum Village was established, but it’s often heard among the people of Quang Nam that “First is Lam Yen Drum, second is Phuoc Kieu Gong.” This indicates that these craft villages have been around for a long time, with at least 200 years of development. There’s a Phan family that has been making drums for seven generations. For them, drum making is not just a profession but also a way to relive the beautiful feelings their ancestors painstakingly built.

Legend has it that Phan Cong Thien, the founder of the Phan family, migrated from the North to explore Quang Nam and settled in Lam Yen, developing the drum-making village on this land. Since then, from generation to generation, the Phan family has brought the unique drum sounds of their town to many regions across the country, establishing the Lam Yen Drum brand.

Lam Yen Drum Village typically operates seasonally. Therefore, if you want to visit and observe the drum-making process, it’s best to come between April and October when there are many ceremonial events and cultural festivals, providing artisans in Lam Yen with the conditions and time to make drums.

3. Unique craft of buffalo hide drum-making in Lam Yen Drum Village

To serve folk festivals, schools, or Mid-Autumn Festival celebrations, drum-making is busy from January to August in the lunar calendar. Making a drum requires going through various stages and meeting the criteria: roundness, beauty, and good sound. Drums come in many types with diverse sizes, including big drums for ceremonies, small drums for ensembles (16-17cm), medium drums (18-25cm), and musical drums (27-28cm).

3.1. Meticulous process of making drum bodies in Lam Yen Drum Village

The first stage of drum-making involves selecting wood. For more prominent drums, wood must be sourced from distant mountain forests, sometimes as far as Gia Lai or Dak Lak. For medium and small drums, drum bodies are typically jackfruit wood.

After air-drying, the jackfruit wood is cut along the curve of the drum body and smoothed. Then, rounded bamboo is used to make drum hoops.

3.2. The secret to creating resonant and durable drum heads only in Lam Yen Drum Village

Next, drum makers procure aged buffalo hide and dry it. The buffalo hide is cut to the size of the drumhead, soaked in water for 2-3 days, then carefully scraped and thinned by hand before being stretched, fitted, and secured onto the drum body. At this stage, to produce the desired sound, artisans must skillfully thin the hide so that the center of the drumhead is the thickest part, gradually thinning towards the edge and hoop.

These secrets rely on intuition and long-standing experience, making it easier for family members to share and pass down the craft to one another.

3.3. Lam Yen Drum Village artisans with the most “sensitive” ears

Crafting a good drum isn’t just about selecting materials and meticulous craftsmanship; drum makers also need a unique ability: exceptional “sound sensitivity.”

A standard drum produces a “boom” or “clang” when struck, depending on the drum type. To discern these sounds, one needs a good ear for tone. This keen sense of hearing is typically nurtured and taught within the family from a young age. This is why drum-making is often challenging to pass on to outsiders.

4. Other beautiful cultural and historical sites in Quang Nam

4.1. My Son Sanctuary

If you enjoy exploring and learning about ancient cultures, My Son Sanctuary is a must-visit destination when traveling to Quang. Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999, it still preserves ancient, sustainable architecture.

4.2. Hoi An Bridge Pagoda

Hoi An Bridge Pagoda is a must-see for every traveler visiting Hoi An. This architectural marvel is hailed as the soul and symbol of Hoi An, vividly portraying the spiritual and cultural life of the people in the ancient town.

4.3. Mother Thu Statue

The Mother Thu Statue is also a popular tourist attraction in Tam Ky, drawing visitors from nearby. Besides the statue, the memorial area also offers recreational areas and refreshing green spaces. It contributes to educating the younger generation about previous generations’ patriotic traditions and sacrifices for the national cause.

In conclusion, Lam Yen Drum Village is a testament to Quang Nam province’s rich cultural heritage and skilled craftsmanship. Through centuries of dedication and tradition, the artisans of Lam Yen have preserved and perfected the art of drum-making, creating instruments that resonate with the soulful rhythms of Vietnamese culture.

As travelers venture to Lam Yen Drum Village, they witness the intricate process of drum production and immerse themselves in the deep-rooted traditions and values of the Phan family and the entire community. From selecting the finest materials to crafting resonant drum heads, each step in the production process reflects a profound connection to the land and a commitment to excellence.

For those seeking to explore the vibrant cultural tapestry of Quang Nam, Lam Yen Drum Village offers an enriching experience that showcases the ingenuity and resilience of the Vietnamese people. Through platforms like, the story of Lam Yen Drum Village can reach a global audience, fostering appreciation and understanding of the enduring traditions that shape Vietnam’s cultural identity.

The drum is carefully carved. (Photo: ST)

The Phan family has had seven empties. (Photo: ST)

Drums are used extensively at festivals. (Photo: ST)

Empties must go through meticulous stages. (Photo: ST)

Buffalo skin is shaved to create resonance for the drum. (Photo: ST)

“Hold fire” and “transfer fire”. (Photo: ST)

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