Monday, June 30, 2008

luxury sounds for your ears

While I am anticipating the arrival of the Chanel mobile museum, another French fashion house worked on some cutting edge, unexpected marketing of their own. Louis Vuitton is working in collaboration with Soundwalk to bring to you 3 urban soundtracks designed for self-guided tours through three cities in China.

The soundtracks are an hour long, and each city is narrated by a different Chinese actress: Gong Li 鞏俐 for Beijing, Shu Qi 舒淇 for Hong Kong, and Joan Chen 陳冲 for Shanghai.

In Beijing, Gong Li re-visits the Central Academy of Drama while telling an old love story between two young students.

Shu Qi narrates the sights and sounds along the tour path starting at Luk Yu Tea House, along Stanley Street in Central, Hong Kong.

Chinese-American actress and director Joan Chen takes travelers through the quaint French Concession area in Shanghai.

Original soundtracks composed by Kubert Leung and Albert Yu. Shan Sa (”The Girl Who Played Go”) and Mei Feng (up-and-coming young Chinese author), have written these journeys much like film scripts — subtly blending reality and fiction to offer a cinematic experience in the heart of the city.

Stylish travelers can download Louis Vuitton Soundwalk for iPod, mp3 players and mobile phones on or It is available in six languages, English, French, Cantonese, Mandarin, Japanese and Korean. Each audio guide costs $17 and comes with a map.

While these were obviously designed to run in conjunction with the upcoming Beijing Olympics, I find this project intriguing and refreshing. Even if I can't go to Asia, to be able to listen to the soundtracks themselves sounds like a lovely blend of art, music, and travel, and because it's a product of Vuitton, there is almost a guaranteed level of sophistication in terms of the final product.

In viewing the trailers, I'm actually surprised by how well Shu Qi speaks in English; there is almost a slight British lilt in her pronunciation. Gong Li is new to English, and her voice is very harsh, so I don't know if I would enjoy listening to her. Joan Chen speaks with an American accent; no surprise there. I wonder what the other languages sound like, since the trailers are only in English; do these ladies narrate in all 6 languages?

View all three trailers below. The soundtracks sound really beautiful; I wonder if they will be available for sale outside of the Soundwalk guides?

Source & Source

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