An Interview with Cu Rua

Vietnam Fieldtrip 2013, Vinyl record 2016

I went to Hanoi, Vietnam in order to interview Cu Rua about his exhausting momentary situation and his legendary former youth. Cu Rua was a male freshwater softshellturtle of the species rafetus swinhoei. He was ancient and the legend around his brave past is famous all over Vietnam. On 19 january 2016 he was found dead in his Hoan Kiem Lake in central Hanoi. His voice, his story is now pressed in vinyl and may be conserved for some coming centuries.

In the depths of Cu Ruas’ foreign language we are listening to tellings about his 600 year long life: youngster fights against the Chinese Ming, taxonomy and sex in question, the coming extinction of a species, rubber tube biting and patriotic vanities in between the waves.

I sat down next to the noisy moped-rush at the concrete shore of Hoan Kiem Lake and awaited Cu Rua. During some rather cool days of January 2013, i switched on my recorder and dipped my hydrophone in the muddy water of the lake.

The A-side of the record we can now listen to what reached my mic there. On the B-side we find various karaoke-streetrecordings added to the voices of some wonderful vietnamese people I met during the trip. Each of them tell us their personal version of the official legend of Cu Rua and King Le Loi – schoolbook memories, grandparents’ stories, bits and parts of free improvisation about a dubious invention mounted on the soft shell of an aged turtle.

Comes with 2-colour offset-printed cover and sleeve with linernotes. Limited to 300 copies / Recordings and composition: Peter Strickmann / Mastering: Flo Brendle / Design: Manuel Wesely www.mmm.do / published by: ismellpainter + SSEA Society for a Sonic Enrichment of the Air

Xin cám on:
Jan Ehlen and Alexandra Zimmer, Pham Van Thong (biggest thanks!) and Nguyen Thu Thuy and Tim McCormack (Asian Turtle Program, Hanoi), Truong Phuoc Tien (Tin Tin) and Ngo Vi Dan (Da Lat Easy Riders), Rendevouz Hanoi Team, Luc (Hanoi), Prof. Mai Dinh Yen (Hanoi National University), Nguyen Thi Ngoc Thao (Ti) and Le Hoang Thien and Tran Khanh Linh (Can Tho), Phan Dien Huong (Mushroom) and Nguyen Thi Thanh Ha (Ho Chi Minh City), Kha (Duong Dong), Prof. Peter Werner (TU Dresden), Christina Kubisch, Georg Winter, Frédéric Ehlers, Martina Wegener, Mung and Philipp (Homburg), Pham Kien Trang (Hanoi), Manuel Wesely, Elizabeth Pich.