“We arrive at Dan Sinh market in Ho Chi Minh City on a sweltering afternoon. The monsoon season is just starting. After parking our scooters, we dive into the stands, which sell everything from army apparel to fruit and vegetables. A middle-aged man directs us to an antique stall. Immediately I spot discs inside a glass cabinet. The owner of the store pulls out more from various places. I go through the LPs hungrily, pausing now and then to wipe my sweating hands on my trousers.
I straighten my back and take it all in: somewhere, from another stall, Duy Khanh’s deep voice echoes softly. I recognise it as his later stuff, produced after 1975, in California.
Back to the LPs, some battered sleeves don’t correspond to the vinyl inside. Much to my delight though, I find a copy of Gap Nhau Tren Pho by Mai Le Huyen and Hung Cuong tucked inside a Hoang Oanh sleeve. I already have one at home in London, but will get it for a friend in Hanoi.”
Read Cuong Pham’s exploration of Vietnamese music on the Mekong Review.
For musical accompaniment, check out this playlist curated by the radio station of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London: