Words, photos and videos by Nguyen Duc Tung for Hanoi Grapevine
Do not copy or repost without permission from the author and Hanoi Grapevine.
After 5 years, Hanoi New Music Festival Concert 2018 made its comeback with the theme “Make a Silence” from 16 to 21 December 2018.
Inspired by the impossibility of absolute silence, this music event series was a journey to find Southeast Asia’s own style, a region considered “silent” in the discourse of contemporary music on the world’s art map.
“Make a Silence” saw the participation of more than 30 artists and researchers from numerous countries, including Vietnam. With an open mind welcoming new knowledge and a sharp sense, these contemporary artists were constantly creating and practicing new music performing techniques. Therefore, the contemporary music pieces presented were extremely unique in terms of both format and content.
At Hanoi New Music Festival Concert 2018, apart from popular musical instruments, the artists also use materials from everyday life, like the sound of fruit peeling, clanging sounds, of flowing water,… Many performances were also combined with body language and installation art. Contemporary music had given the artists have an immense creative space so they can freely create and challenge the limits.
This freedom in creativity led to the freedom in perception. For many people attending Hanoi New Music Festival Concert 2018, it was the first time not only they enjoyed music through their ears, but also their eyes, nose and hands.
Images from Hanoi New Music Festival Concert 2018:
Gregor Siedl (Austria) and Cao Thanh Lan (Vietnam) pointed flashlight at a light sensor. This device, after “catching” the different light frequencies, will “translate” them into theirs corresponding sounds:
Excerpt from “Sự rời đi của chiếc lá” (The departure of the leaf) by Luong Hue Trinh and Luong Thuy Linh, using the monochord – a traditional Vietnamese instrument, and electronic musical instruments:
Contemporary music is still very new and distant to the majority of Vietnamese people in particular, and Southeast Asians in general. Through Hanoi New Music Festival Concert 2018, artists and researchers hope that audiences will embrace this art form with a more open mind. Instead of seeing it as confusing, just relax and let the music seep into your body through each of your senses.
Translated by Hanoi Grapevine