A Midnight Symphony of Frogs and Insects at Yen Minh

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  • A Midnight Symphony of Frogs and Insects at Yen Minh 00:00
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This is a soundscape of village in North Vietnam. After a day riding a motorcycle through the northern loop, I had to rest in Yen Minh. Yen Minh is a rural area 110 kilometres north-east of Ha Giang. I had to go through a small twisting road to get here. It is easier to explain with a map. It was like a miracle to finally meet civilization after hours of riding through empty hills.

I arrived at Yen Minh at around seven at night. My shoes were wet from recording a river that I found on my way. I was very tired, and finally found a lodge in a village not far from the northern loop.

Seven at night here is different than the seven at night in big cities. The streets start to settle down. People having conversation, and the kids are still awake. The sound of people greeting each other is a soundscape that is distinct to places like this. Although I was tired, seven o’clock does not seem to be a good time to sleep. I was more hungry than I was sleepy. I then ordered a Vietnam drip and dinner in the lodge. I was able to relax in front of the lodge while I waited for sleepiness to embrace me.

Ten o’clock, the soundscape in the village had changed. The sound of people talking is no longer present. It seems that the people have gone to sleep. On the other hand, the sound of frogs and crickets start to dominate the night. I felt even lonelier as the lights in the lodge are turned off. It felt as though the atmosphere forces me to go to bed. The problem is that I am not sleepy yet, but I started to feel pain all over my body. I spent my night listening to the soundscape I recorded today: the recording of a river, northern loop road, village, etc.

It is almost twelve o’clock, and sleepiness has yet to come. I had to go to the toilet to relief myself. The toilet is located at the back of the lodge facing the field. It was then that the sound of frogs, crickets, and other insects was audible clearly. The sound of engine had become very rare. After relieving, I took my recorder and placed it on the ventilation of the toilet. Of course I locked the door, because it might be suspicious if the lodge owner catches me doing this weird activity.

This is the recording of Yen Minh, a northern Vietnam village, in the middle of the night. Other than the sound of frogs and crickets, you can also hear a recording traditional Vietnam music in the distance broadcasted via loudspeaker. I asked myself who would play a traditional music this late at night (but then I realize, sometimes it’s also happen in Indonesian village). In this silence, even sounds from a distance are audible. From the village next door, you can hear dogs barking, like something is bothering them. Although I was still wide awake, I was very happy to be able to hear a soundscape full of stories and tales, like a beautiful symphony from a village in the north part of Vietnam.

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