26 July 2001 - Caught the last part of a radio interview of Prach Ly, Cambodian American mc in Long Beach, California. He was being interviewed on the Canadian Broadcast Corp.'s news and public affairs show, "As It Happens", about his rap CD that became a hit in Phnom Penh. He figures that his recording was brought to Cambodia around December of '99. (I already noted the Asiaweek magazine article about him and his CD (see Print of Note #8), which failed to mention a date when the recording started playing in Cambodia.)
5 August - Saw Chicago-based Jenny Choi and the Third Shift perform at Metro Cafe in DC. The audience was tiny, but that allowed me to sit at a table closest to the stage. I could stand up, step forward, and snap pictures freely. The difficulty is that the stage is a bit high, which puts limitations on good shooting angles and unobstructed views of the performers.
8 August - Arrived in Chicago and caught the jazz show of the "Rising sounds of Asian American music" series at the Old Town School of Music. First up was Yoko Noge's Jazz Me Blues. They played with swing. Noge's vocals reminded me of enka style (an old form of Japanese pop, 40-50 years old?). Her style was complemented by the sweet, smooth voice of Elijah Levy. The rest of the band was Sonny Seals (tenor sax), Jimmy Ellis (alto sax), Clark Dean (soprano sax), Tatsu Aoki (bass) and Phil Thomas (drums).
11 August - Talked with expat Japanese blues harmonica player, Seiji "Wabi" Yuguchi. He leads a 50's/60's Chicago -style blues band comprised mostly of expat Japanese like himself. Minoru Maruyama, his guitarist, was with him as well.
12 August - In the afternoon, I found out that the Tatsu Aoki's Miyumi Project was playing the Korean Street Fair. So I rushed up there via train and my own 2 feet. I arrived just as the ensemble was finishing their last piece. Afterwards, I buttonholed the bandleader and interviewed him about his musical concept behind Miyumi Project and the "Rooted: Origins of Now" ensemble. (The latter will be performing at Ping Tom
Park at Chicago Chinatown on Aug. 26, at the Chicago Jazz Festival on Sept. 1, and at the Chicago Asian American jazz festival in late October.)
18 Aug - Saw folk singer/songwriter Michael Hsu at 49 West in Annapolis. It's been nearly a year since I've heard him at the same place. Doesn't seem to have changed. I looked up my notes from before, and they still applied.
2 Sep - Happened to be in Raleigh, North Carolina and turned on the radio. I caught the last 25 minutes of Seyma (shayma) Bennett's show, "World Cafe" on WKNC 88.1 FM. She played a lot of bhangra and Turkish club dance music. Even mixed in some Latin stuff. Something unexpected for a smaller metropolitan area. The station is run by students at NC State.
9 Sep - Saw a free show by the Madagascaran groupTarika at the Kennedy Center in DC. I was particularly interested in hearing songs off their latest album, "Soul Makassar," which was inspired by the bandleader's trip to Indonesia. Hanitra Rasoanaivo wanted to uncover cultural ties between Madagascar and Indonesia.
11 Sep - Fortunately, my sister avoided harm from the airstrikes on the World Trade Center. She works nearby, but arrived at her building after the second plane had hit and left before the first tower crumbled.
11 Oct - I enjoyed the soundtrack for the opening night screening of the DC APA film festival. The main feature was "The Flip Side", a comedy set in Southern California and shot in black & white. The soundtrack included songs by Moonpools & Caterpillars, a group (3 Pinoys + 1 white female) that one doesn't hear from these days. Seems they put out an album a couple years back and then were gone from the scene. Too bad, because their pop/rock sound is catchy.
14 Oct - Attended another screening of the DC APA film festival, and saw the film, "Shopping for Fangs." The soundtrack was by someone named Steve Pramoto, and wasn't bad.
20 Oct - By the time I arrived at the last day of the film festival, most of the video, "The Split Horn: Life of a Hmong Shaman in America, had been projected. There was a Q&A session afterwards, with the filmmakers and family. Turns out the 2 teen kids of the shaman are fairly musical. The boy, Birthanie, plays the khene (a pan-pipe -like harmonica) well enough to perform at Hmong funerals. The girl, Chai, ended the session by singing a song written by a Hmong band or r&b group from Minnesota called, Dr. Teen. The lyrics were mostly in Hmong, with some English phrases like, "Baby, I'm so sorry" and "Please come back"
28 Oct - Tomorrow's my last morning in Toronto. I've been here since Thursday. Bought a few used CD's: "Lavinia's Tongue" by Sook-Yin Lee (who'd recently announced that she was going to leave her job as a VJ and interviewer at Much Music, the Canadian MTV), a cheesy-sounding Cambodian pop recording, and Lee Kim's "Close to You". (I suspect that LK is a Korean Canadian.)
3 Nov - On the radio (WAMU 88.5 FM), I happened to catch a woman's voice with koto playing in the background. Immediately, I guessed that it was Miya Masaoka speaking. Sure enough, that's who it was. She was on an NPR-distributed series, called "Jazz Profiles" hosted by singer, Nancy Wilson. The point of this particular program was to demonstrate how jazz was being played on unusual instruments or settings. After the Masaoka soundbite finished, there followed a
rendition of Thelonius Monk's "Round Midnight" by Miya on the koto, with Reggie Workman on bass and Andrew Cyrille on drums.
10 Nov - Heard a good radio piece on qawwali (produced by Jocelyn Gonzales for "Studio 360"). Ishrat Ansari, of the Pakistani cultural foundation Virsa, and Robert Browning of the World Music Institute talked about this devotional folk music of the Sufi Muslims of South Asia. I liked Browning's remarks about the role of the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, the best known qawwali vocalist.
11 Nov - Saw a couple bands play at Cafe Tatoo in Baltimore. (The owner and bartender, Rick, is quite a character and is apt to carry on conversations with himself.)
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