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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Seoul Village Criers - a Soundtracking Project

Dear fellow Seoulites,

I'd like to ask you a service.

I've always had a special fondness for Seoul's criers, and I thought it could be interesting to collect their voices. After all, street peddlers are a key ingredient in Seoul's soundtrack. We're always a bit surprised to hear them the first time, and we start missing them only after they're gone.

Here's a knife grinder I like particularly: his "kal" (knife / 칼) has been carved to quasi-muezzinesque perfection:

I also remember the nasal "setaaaaak" (laundry / 세탁) of that laundryman in an "apateu" block. He would fire off one of those every other floor, and you could hear him from quite far away. With a good reason: your trained hear was able to locate him for you ("he's in building 105 around the 11th floor, I have enough time to gather my stuff before he reaches our place").

Routine matters: the pace never changes, because the cry is the crier's brand. And just like for maemi (cicadas), criers had to raise their voices to adapt to the environment: first to high rise blocks, then to sound-proof apartments.

Of course, many use recorded speeches and loud-speakers, and fruit and vegetable salesmen often air their price lists for key items. So if possible I'd prefer a capella performances. What to do with all these sounds? A best of? A documentary? We'll see. But before that, we'll hear. From them. And from you.

Your neighborhood peddlers have interesting voices? Record them, and share them with us. Comment or write to us:
- Special playlist on YouTube: Seoul Village Criers ( )
- on Seoul Village's Facebook page:
- on Twitter: @theseoulvillage
- by email:

Thank you for letting us know more about the context (location, activity), but please don't start hunting this endangered species across Seoul's residential neighborhoods!

Thank you for passing the message around.

And thank you for sharing the soundtrack of your life with us.

Seoul Village 2012
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