Vân-Ánh Võ Transforms a Refugee's Odyssey into a Musical Performance
Whenever musician and composer Vân-Ánh Võ gets together with her friends in the Vietnamese American community, she says, "After having food, after having fun, we all end up talking how we came here."
Võ grew up in Hanoi and left in 1995, when the U.S. normalized relations with the Vietnam. But she learned that many of her friends in the South Bay's large Vietnamese-American community were "boat people," meaning they were part of the hundreds of thousands who fled Vietnam on overcrowded boats in the late '70s and survived terrible hardships on the South China Sea. Read more →
Vân-Ánh Võ's 'The Odyssey' Tells Refugee Stories Past And Present
Hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing their country by boat. That's Syria today. It's also Vietnam in 1979.
Vân-Ánh Võ left Vietnam more than a decade after that, and under far different circumstances: She was already an award-winning musician, bound for Carnegie Hall. But the plight of her countrymen, and that of today's refugees, has inspired her to create a new concert piece that will be touring the country. Read more →
From Vietnam to America: Q&A With Musician and Composer Van-Anh Vo
Oscar-nominated and Emmy Award-winning composer Vân-Ánh Võ premieres her new musical epic this month in San Francisco, inspired by the experiences of the Vietnamese Boat People. Integrating traditional and new instruments, video, field recordings and interviews with survivors, The Odyssey–From Vietnam to America reflects the resilience of the human spirit and the price of freedom. CAAM is a co-presenter of the program at the YBCA. The work was created in partnership with Asian Americans for Community Involvement (AACI). She spoke with New America Media editor Andrew Lam. Read more →
Musical Fusion for Modern Ears in Vân-Ánh Võ's '3L: Love, Life, Loss'
Vân-Ánh Võ started studying music in Vietnam at the age of four. She trained with six different musical masters. "We have 54 different ethnic groups in Vietnam, and we have so many different genres! But regardless of what regions they come from, they shared the same thing: the same quality of belief. Music doesn't have borders. Culture doesn't have borders."
Võ lives in Fremont now with her husband and children, and her work here as a musician and composer resonates with U.S. audiences. She's won an Emmy, collaborated with the Kronos Quartet, and played at top venues like the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. She's even played a Tiny Desk Concert for NPR. (At 6:30 in, listen to her witty take on Erik Satie's Gnossienne No. 3, performed on the dan Bau.) Read more →