Hmoob Yuavtsum Hlub Hmoob
Once open a time there were plenty of Hmong musicians I have gotten to know. I had the opportunity to interview most of Hmong’s emerging musicians in their beginnings entitled Behind the Scenes: Hmong Musicians which featured Reflections, Pagnia Xiong (Hmong Idol), Elvis (formerly of Rare, Gran Torino & The Creatives), ONO, Sony (manager of Reflections Band) and others who had garnered loyal fans throughout the Hmong festivities for many years. An added bonus was interviewing Sheng Moua (High Voltage, Fashion Stylist), Telo Tony, and Lp for Eye.D Magazine and Asiance Magazine garnering new fans from across the country.
Music in the Hmong community had slowly died down over the years because the Internet wasn’t widely known, especially among our older Hmong generations who had their songs on cassette tape. Thanks to Youtube, Vimeo, Hmong music videos have been successfully explored and watched from all over the world. Literally, Hmong music can be bought at the tip of their fingers on whatever smartphone they are using.
Ten or so years ago, the first Hmong collaboration featuring upcoming new artists in their own right entitled The H Project featured a brand new style of music compiled by Tou. However, The H Project didn’t really establish a solid foundation for most of the artists who were chosen among the hundreds who submitted their work. Only a few prevailed and stayed in the spotlight with their loyal fans. Yet, the songs that I hear from most Hmong artists are sung in English with music that was already well developed and composed by other professionals in the music industry from Los Angeles to Hong Kong. Some copyright issue maybe in questions as to who the original artists are. Some songs are original but lack the passion that an outsider might be looking for.
When checking back into the Hmong music world a year ago I am left disappointed for the lack of an original work. However, in recent months I was convinced to search on YouTube and explore with the help of my sisters to show me the latest of whose who among the Hmong musicians. I was stunned to find that most Hmong artists are those who can record themselves in front of the camera, play their instruments and sing their hearts out. I was amazed and stunned to see these incredible people gaining momentum online along with fans across the country. I discovered other artists who I have never had the chance to look into such as Sudden Rush, a group of family music buffs with original quality work who can sing in both English and Hmong. Of course, we have our talented Pagnia Xiong with her strong voice building a strong foundation, a foothold into the music world. And the foothold gave us the talented Kong and Shu Project. Who doesn’t know about these two amazing talented duos? Their hard work paid off when I discovered their collaboration with some of the most talented music artists I have heard in the past years, the song Hmoob Yuavtsum Hlub Hmoob.
Today, we have artists who are still trying to break through into mainstream music. How do you break into the world of music when it’s only been played at Hmong festivities? How can Hmong artists break into a wider audience besides YouTube? How can Hmong musicians change the course of their action? What plans do they have to explore the outside world of music? Will they collaborate with other Asian artists in order to establish a stronger foundation in their music career?
The answer is YouTube and Social Networking.