Hanoi Soundwalk, a strange story of street sounds

Hanoi Soundwalk, a strange story of street sounds - ảnh 1

By listening to these sounds, Soundwalkers feel as though they are immersed in the busy streets of the old Hanoi. The journey, which starts from the St. Joseph Cathedral in downtown Hanoi, proceeds through the major streets of Hanoi’s Old Quarter and ends at Dong Xuan market. Walkers were instructed to install mapping software and download sounds to their devices. When the GPS mode is on, they will start the walk and at each point on the map they will hear the sounds typical of that place in the past. This is quite exciting as walkers can experience both the sounds of the past and present at the same time. Thanh Mai is a third-year student of the Hanoi University of Foreign Trade. She said “I can hear the tolling bells of the Cathedral, the noise of markets, the Xam singing, and the clanging of the tram bell when I pass by Bat Dan or Phung Hung street. This reminds me of the busy life of Hanoi’s Old Quarter in the past.” 20-year-old Hanoi native Bui Hoang Yen is very excited: “The walk is marvelous. We can hear so many sounds that characterize the places that we go through. The sounds are very realistic and impressive.”

The Hanoi Soundwalk was created by Joshua Kopecek from Britain who has a Doctorate in Music from the University of Manchester, Mathias Rossignol from France (PhD in Computer Science) and a group of Vietnamese artists led by electronic musician Tri Minh. The artists consulted historian Duong Trung Quoc, researched old documents from the National Archives Center and interviewed elderly Hanoi residents. Musician Tri Minh said that the walk unveils what has been concealed by the hustle and bustle of modern everyday life: “The purpose of the Hanoi Soundwalk project is to get listeners into a musical space of Hanoi through different periods of time. We also want to convey a message to the public: let us preserve the sounds of the past because they are falling into oblivion. Let us create new sounds for a better life.”

Hanoi Soundwalk, a strange story of street sounds - ảnh 2

While implementing this project, those involved have overcome many difficulties including language barriers and public awareness about this new form of art. Musician Tri Minh said: “We have spent a lot of time to make the public aware of this project. I have tried to integrate this activity with other social programs, including one with the Nguyen Dinh Chieu school for visually-impaired students. The students will have the chance to talk to the artists and enjoy our unique musical experiment.”

Hanoi Soundwalk, a strange story of street sounds - ảnh 3

Efforts by Hanoi Soundwalk creators have paid off when they listen to the students excitedly talk about what they felt and heard on each street, something that anyone in Hanoi may have forgotten long ago. The 3-km Soundwalk in Hanoi’s Old Quarter is also aimed at helping young people learn more about the old streets of the capital city and be more aware of the need to protect and preserve traditional cultural values.