Sometimes a sound, smell or taste can instantly transport you through time and space. Not literally, but metaphorically. Be it a taste of home made fruit juice transporting you back to your Ba’s kitchen in your home town (true story) or a sound sweeping you out of Hoan Kiem and depositing you over 9,000 kilometres away as in this video.
As part of the weekend entertainment at the pedestrianised Hoan Kiem in Hanoi, I had the good fortune to hear these talented youngsters. As they progressed through their set of traditional đàn nhị tunes, I couldn’t help but feel their music was very familiar. Gradually, it dawned on me their two stringed instruments were actually belting out Scottish music. Or so it seemed to my ears.
Later, when trying to find comparable Scottish music on YouTube, it became obvious that what I had heard in the Old Quarter was bagpipe tunes played on the đàn nhị. Until that revelation all the Scottish fiddle music I had found was much too fast. But when I searched for a well known bagpipe tune played on the fiddle (Highland Cathedral on the pipes/ on the fiddle) it all started to make sense. I wonder if they are aware of the similarities?
If you happen to know anyone appearing in the video, please point them at this post. It was be amazing to hear Highland Cathedral on the đàn nhị.
Check out the Hà Nội Scribbles YouTube channel for more Vietnam related vids.