Listen to Hanoi Soundscape
(Recording: Phillip Blackburn)
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|Welcome . This site
is dedicated to the city of Hanoi, Vietnam's capital, and for us, the
place that feels most like home. Please explore our site and give us
your comments and suggestions by signing our guestbook
before you go. Why not make your first stop our own "Images
Or, visit one the following sites
for an introduction.
The Spirit of Hanoi
Jasmine is always jasmine
Elegant or not
One is nevertheless a citizen of the capital
Nguyen Cong Tru (1778-1858)
from a folksong
The soul of the Vietnamese people
is well expressed through poetry, which until the 20th century constituted
(in varied forms) the predominant literary
tradition. For those interested, Huynh Sanh Thong has translated
into English two large volumes of poetry as well as Vietnam's best
known and loved literary work, Nguyen Du's "Truyen
Kieu". Vietnam remains a primarily agrarian society, and
the rural village, rather than Hanoi, figures most prominently in
Vietnamese poetry in the classical
tradition. But these poems, translated and published in the 70's
in Hanoi, help capture some of the flavor of the old city.
Contemporary Hanoi too, does continue to inspire:
Let's roam around Thang Long
...But, ironically, while colonial
era buildings -- hotels, the opera house -- are deemed appropriate
for preservation and investment, what will become of the maze of narrow
streets which constitute Hanoi's old
quarter, its "36 streets", is much less certain. How
will its joyous chaos survive development pressures which demand more
rational site planning and improved infrastructure?
Doi khong co em
Khong co nuoc leo
Oh my beloved,
Life without you is like
Pho wihout its broth
Hanoi's streets are full of great food. Personal favorites: the bun oc on Mai Hac De Street (the specialty stall), and the cha ca at Cha Ca Thang Long (on Hang Ma Street). See if you like it better than original Cha Ca La Vong on Cha Ca Street .
Her eyes are like boats mirrored in the water
Here clouds and mountains extend forever
Poplars dry their golden hair in the sun...
Mist has covered the blue mountains
A brown sail rides the springtime waves
A wanderer listens to the birds' trills
A swallow glides in the clouds
Memories of love past...
Images from "Ben Xuan"
by Van Cao-Pham Duy
|It was morning in Hanoi, our windows were open to let in the cool morning air, and I first stirred with the sounds of clanging pots and people scurrrying to prepare breakfast, but soon my attention was drawn to the distant sound of music, an old record, one of those romantic tunes from the 40's, western in its tonalities and rhythm but undeniably Vietnamese in its essence, it was a love song for Vietnam, one I didn't recognize and haven't heard since, but as I lay half asleep amid the sounds of Hanoi awakening, I thought it was the most beautiful song I'd ever heard. Still, we both really love Van Cao and Pham Duy's Ben Xuan.|
after writing the first incarnation of the beautiful "Ben Xuan", 21
year old Haiphong minstrel Van Cao wrote "Tien Quan Ca" (Advancing
Army) and had it pubished in the clandestine Democratic Party journal.
In early 1945 it become the unofficial anthem of young people in urban
Tonkin, and on August 17 of that year it was played before a cheering
crowd of 20,000 people gathered in the square in front of Hanoi's
opera house to demonstrate suppport for Vietnamese independence. Days
later, it became the national anthem of the newly declared Democratic
Republic of Vietnam.
from and about Hanoi continues to be a part of Vietnamese popular
music. Please enjoy these songs, singers and stories of Hanoi.
American espresso has not arrived yet in Hanoi. You can enjoy a great
cup of coffee, however, at Nguyen Van
Lam's cafe on Nguyen Huu Huan Street in the Old Quarter. No big Italian
espresso machines or hip muzak, but quality Franco-Viet-drip surrounded
by four decades of works from among the best known of Hanoi's artist
Hanoi can't be beat for photographic opportunities, as the following photoessays and collections demonstrate. Of course the photo squad at "Images of Hanoi" has snapped a few good ones in our travels around northern Vietnam,which we invite you to view too. For photography advice specific to Vietnam see Quang-Tuan Luong's website.
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