Song Vue Chang, Blue Hmong, plays geng mouth organ


Bravo! A wonderful presentation deep in multi-layered analysis and perspectives. A joy. - Scott Marcus, Professor of Ethnomusicology, UC Santa Barbara

What a terrific film - I can’t wait to use it in my classes! This is an amazing piece of work! - Deborah Wong, Professor of Ethnomusicology, UC Riverside

Delightful content - positive, clearly presented, enriching. Powerfully depicts the transition of a virtually complete culture into its own setting in the United States. I appreciate the sensitivity toward the people and its view of music as a significant component within the total fabric of lifestyle and belief system. I see a serious effort to balance factors of gender, age, location, cultural change, musical genre, organology, education . . . Shows very broadminded and open perception. - Prof. Herbert Geisler, Concordia College

The most instructive, informational and well done video I’ve seen on the Hmong yet. – Blong Yang, President, Hmong Students’ Association, UC Los Angeles







This 58-minute video tells the story of two senior musicians from Laos who play instruments and sing for a variety of American audiences, adapting their presentations for Hmong and non-Hmong listeners of all ages. The first-person narrative by U.C.L.A. ethnomusicologist Amy Catlin interweaves footage from Rhode Island, Fresno, San Diego, Santa Ana, and Laos, including

- Hmong New Year festivals

- courtship dialog songs

- Lao lamleuang folk opera

- Lao mohlam folksong with khen accompaniment

- school classrooms

- and a TV sitcom representation of a Hmong healer in an American hospital.

A social history of the Hmong from China to Laos to America unfolds, illustrated by Hmong music, drawings and embroideries, archival photos, maps, and interviews. Subtitles translate song texts and illuminate Hmong “thought-songs” played on free-reed pipes, mouth organs, jew’s harps, banana leaves, flutes and fiddles.

The story concludes by returning to the deceased musician’s children and grandchildren after an eleven-year hiatus, to give them copies of the original footage. The family members reflect on their experience of ”generation loss” in Hmong music and culture, and express the hope that Hmong music will continue in America.

The General Documentary Edition contains scenes from a Hmong funeral in California, omitted in the Hmong Home Edition for religious reasons.

The Hmong Home Edition concludes with English commentary by noted Hmong educator, Dr. Lue Vang, Ph.D.

—Approved by the California Department of Education for social content

ISBN 1-880519-12-7 © 1997 General Documentary Edition VHS Price $80 + S&H
ISBN 1-880519-14-3 © 1997 Hmong Home Edition VHS Price $40 + S&H

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