Archive for the Music Category

Singer, Songwriter, and Freedom Fighter Viet Khang Has Arrived in the United States

Posted in I. News, Music with tags , , , , , , , , on February 22, 2018 by Ian Pham

Viet Khang Arrival California(Dan Huynh/Nguoi Viet)

A couple of weeks ago, on the afternoon of February 8, 2018, the Vietnamese singer, songwriter, and former political prisoner Viet Khang touched down at Los Angeles International Airport, Los Angeles, California, after being jailed for four years by the communist government in Vietnam for his dissenting political views.

Upon arrival, Viet Khang was greeted by a warm and welcoming crowd, attended mostly by members of the Vietnamese-American community.

Viet Khang, real name Vo Minh Tri, rose to international prominence among Vietnamese audiences worldwide in late 2011, when he recorded and released two protest songs criticizing the communist government in Vietnam for their cowardice, corruption, and treason against the nation of Vietnam and its people. Simultaneously released, the two songs are “Viet Nam Toi Dau?” (“Where is My Vietnam?”), and “Anh La Ai?” (“Who Are You?”).

The firstly mentioned song, “Where is My Vietnam?” deals with the issue of the current quiet invasion of Vietnam by Red China, and how the impotent and cowardly communist government in Vietnam is doing nothing to defend the country against foreign encroachment.

In his second song, “Who Are You?” the singer addresses the brutality and barbarity of the communist police in Vietnam, who, in the pattern of all totalitarian states, walk around terrorizing, stealing, violating, and murdering the population with impunity.

Through his music, Viet Khang shined a spotlight on a commonly known, but largely unspoken (at least inside Vietnam, because dictatorships) truth about the Vietnamese Communist Party: That they are corrupted, cowardly, and treasonous, not to mention brutal and evil.

In Vietnam, the communist government commits horrendous human rights abuses, such as (but not limited to) breaking into peoples homes at will, forcing bribery and taking citizens’ money at will, seizing and destroying property at will, beating and terrorizing men, women, and children at will, and overall, creating a society of banditry and fear.

On the international stage, an aggressive and expansionist China kills Vietnamese fishermen, builds oil rigs and artificial islands close to Vietnam’s shores, seizes Vietnam’s islands in the eastern sea (wrongfully dubbed the “South China Sea”), and established a one-sided open borders practice with Vietnam that allows Chinese people to come and go in Vietnam without any form of paperwork, while at the same time imposing harsh restrictions on Vietnamese people who wish to travel to China. All of this not only goes unpunished by the Vietnamese communist government, but also seems to be welcomed, even promoted by the Vietnamese communist government.

In general, the communist government in Vietnam behaves brutally and terrifyingly against its own defenseless population, but weak, feckless, and pathetic in its dealings with outside powers.

Viet Khang’s music, through a few simple chords and an unwavering dedication to the truth, shook the foundations of the communist regime in Vietnam, and left even the top members of the Vietnamese communist high command shaking in their little Made in China commie boots.

As a result of his two songs, Viet Khang was jailed by the communist government in Vietnam for four years, finally completing his sentence in December of 2015. Following his release, Viet Khang faced another two to three years of house arrest, as part of his sentencing.

Recently, however, thanks to a collaborative effort of lobbying and advocating by music producer and democracy activist Truc Ho, U.S. Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) and members of his team, which includes Vietnamese-American lawyer Ms. Minh Thuc, a deal was reached between the U.S. and Vietnamese governments, allowing Viet Khang to depart from Vietnam and come to the United States as a refugee.

Viet Khang is a freedom fighter and a patriot who, even when locked away in the dirty confines of communist prison, continued to spread his message to the world.

Upon his arrival in California, it was revealed that another popular Vietnamese protest song, “Tra Lai Cho Dan,” (“Give Back to the People”), had been authored by Viet Khang as well. The song surfaced on Vietnamese overseas media some time after Viet Khang’s sentencing, while he was in prison. It was performed by many overseas Vietnamese musicians, and became popular in Vietnamese communities across the world, even inside Vietnam. With no known author at the time, many suspected that Viet Khang had written the song while in jail, and then finding a way to leak it to the outside world. Since his arrival in the United States, this theory has proven to be a reality.

As a courageous person who speaks his mind, Viet Khang has suffered tremendously at the hands of the communists. It is great that he has finally found some measure of peace for all of the pain he endured. This peace comes in the form of freedom, marked by his arrival in the United States. As a member of the Vietnamese freedom community, I wish Viet Khang the best.

Welcome to America, brother.

God bless.

 

Note: An earlier version of this article failed to include Truc Ho as one of the key players in Viet Khang’s transfer from Vietnam to the United States. Truc Ho was instrumental in this successful operation, spearheading the operation and working closely with Senator McCain and his team to accomplish the task. The error has been corrected. (February 22, 2018).

Reporting for this news article courtesy of Hoang Tat Thang (Dan Lam Bao), Do Dzung (Nguoi Viet), and Nguyen Huy (Nguoi Viet).

Merry Christmas! 2017 Edition

Posted in Art, IV. Columns, Music with tags , , , , on December 25, 2017 by Ian Pham

freepikproject_template(Freepik)

Seasons Greetings, dear readers!

I know I haven’t been around as much, but I had to drop in to wish you all a Merry Christmas!

If you are wondering if this blog is still active, and whether I am still active, fear not, because the answer to both of these questions is a resounding YES! Blogging time has been sparse over this last long haul, but I see some opportunities to change that as we go forward. More on that soon!

And so, in this brief Christmas letter, I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas, a Happy Holidays, and a very Happy New Year!

I hope all of you have the opportunity to take some time and appreciate the things that are important to you, whatever they may be. Remember to take care of yourself, love yourself, and know that whoever you are, your are enough, and you are worth it.

Best wishes,

Ian

❤️🎄🎁🎵

What Jovie From the Movie “Elf” Taught Me About Courage and Leadership

Posted in Film, Music, Opinions, Videos with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 25, 2016 by Ian Pham

zooey-deschanel-in-elfImage via Fanpop

This is going to be a bit of a stretch, but I’ll give it a shot anyways.

First off, if you haven’t seen the movie “Elf,” there are going to be some spoilers ahead. Secondly, if you haven’t seen the movie “Elf,” you should do yourself a favor and check it out ASAP. Chances are high (basically 100%) that some channel on TV is playing it right now, as we speak, as I type this article, and then actually right now, as you read this article. It’s an incredible movie, full of laughs and whimsy and Will Ferrell being Will Ferrell at his comedic best.

I won’t give too much of the movie away, but there is one scene in the film where Buddy the Elf’s (Ferrell) love interest Jovie (played by Zooey Deschanel) steps up on a carriage and sings in front of a mob of people in Central Park. Her purpose in doing this is to bring up New York’s Christmas spirit so that Santa, Buddy, and the reindeers can follow through with their mission to save Christmas. It’s a zany, lighthearted, and adorable film that will surely either cheer you up or make your day even brighter than it already is.

Here’s the scene I am talking about. Give it a watch, and I will follow up with the discussion shortly after. But, before you press play, remember: SPOILERS are contained in the clip.

Pretty cute, right?

I won’t get too deep into the politics that I usually talk about, but I do want to point out this simple message that I received from this adorable movie: It only takes one brave voice to make something happen. It only takes one voice to start a change.

If you read this site often, you already know where I’m going with this.

And yes, I know it’s not as easy as I’m making it sound right now. Singing a song in the middle of Saigon or Hanoi won’t make the communist regime fall just like that. It’ll take more than a song to bring down the totalitarian communist dictatorship and bring freedom to Vietnam.

However, what I want to say is that if you are someone who has something to say to the communists in Vietnam, then go for it. It may not be as simple as singing a song to raise Christmas spirit for Santa’s sleigh, but, and I’m talking real life now, if you have a message that you believe people need to hear, if you want to speak out against the communists, then use your voice to break the silence.

Zooey Deschanel’s scene in “Elf” is just a lighthearted musical number in a fun comedy movie, but to me, it is a beautiful illustration of the idea that, with just one brave voice, something extraordinary can happen. One person with the courage to step up, speak up, and be the guiding light that leads a movement to accomplish something incredible and magical. In “Elf,” this incredible thing is saving Christmas, in our real world, it is saving Vietnam from Communism, and bringing freedom, democracy, and human rights to Vietnam.

In this real life scenario, Vietnam is our Christmas, and Jovie, that voice that breaks the silence, is a person we have not met yet, but is definitely out there somewhere.

To the Jovie of Vietnam, if you’re reading this, the world is waiting for you. Raise your voice, take a chance, and make something incredible happen. You can do it. Believe in yourself.

Well, that’s my motivational speech this Christmas.

Hopefully you’re all doing well, and, while I may not always have the time to write on here as much as I want to, my thoughts are always with you, and with Vietnam. I wish I got paid to write on here, but hey, you can’t get everything you ask for. Still, though, a guy can dream, right?

Merry Christmas, everybody. Happy Holidays, and have a Happy New Year!

See you in 2017.

Ian Pham.

Christmas Card: 2015 Edition

Posted in Announcements, Music with tags , , , , on December 25, 2015 by Ian Pham

Christmas CandlesImage via Images Buddy

Seasons Greetings, dear readers!

I don’t have much time to blog today, but it still doesn’t feel right to leave you all without a Merry Christmas and a song. So, here I am, wishing you all a Happy Holidays, and a very Merry Christmas!

Whether you’re with family, friends, or spending some time alone this holiday season, I hope that your days and nights are filled with comfort, warmth, and happiness. Appreciate what you have, don’t stop dreaming, and don’t stop believing.

That’s all the time I have, folks. Best wishes this holiday season, and don’t forget to smile.

Once again,

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year!

Ian

P.S. This year’s Christmas song is the famous “Do You Hear What I Hear?” written by Noël Regney and Gloria Shayne Baker in 1962. Here beautifully performed by Carrie Underwood.

Enjoy!

Here’s a Nice Song That Viet Khang Wrote, Performed by Dan Truong

Posted in Music with tags , , on December 22, 2015 by Ian Pham

Viet Khang - Ban ThanImage via Dan Luan

The following is a song that Viet Khang wrote. It started making its rounds on the internet in early 2012, a short while after the musician’s arrest for writing his two groundbreaking and politically-driven songs, “Anh La Ai (Who Are You)?” and “Viet Nam Toi Dau (Where Is My Vietnam)?” After some brief snooping however, it turns out that this song has been out since 2010, and is performed by a singer named Dan Truong. According to Youtube, in the video’s description, the song is performed by Dan Truong, and written by Viet Khang.

Along with the two famous tracks mentioned above, this single has also become quite popular among Viet Khang’s fans.

The song which I currently speak of is titled “Ban Than,” which means “Good Friend” in Vietnamese. It’s literally all about looking forward to hanging out with your friend, having coffee, and talking about life and other things. I personally enjoyed the song quite a bit, and feel that many of you will like it too. It’s nonpolitical, it’s slow, and it’s just really nice.

Hope you all liked it. I know I sure did.

Once again, welcome back, Brother Viet Khang.

Viet Khang is Officially Home

Posted in Democracy Activists, Music, Society with tags , , , , on December 15, 2015 by Ian Pham

Viet Khang ReturnsPhoto via Radio Free Asia

It’s official, folks. Viet Khang, the renowned musician and democracy activist, has returned home safely to his family.

In his interview with Radio Free Asia, the musician explains his long trip back home after being released from communist imprisonment. Being provided a group to drive him, Viet Khang did not arrive home until 3-4pm, having left at 7am earlier that morning. He cites the fact that his drivers, taking their sweet time, had to stop for food and refreshments and whatnot, while he was anxious to get home and did not eat at all.

From the same interview, the musician explains that he will be under house arrest for the next 2-3 years, that he is very grateful for all the love and support that he has received throughout this time, and, that he has no regrets for the things that he has done. He is a musician who speaks from his heart, and he is a man who loves his country.

Welcome home, Brother Viet Khang.

Listen to the whole interview at Radio Free Asia.

Musician and Human Rights Activist Viet Khang Released From Prison Yesterday

Posted in Democracy Activists, Music, Politics, Society with tags , , , , on December 15, 2015 by Ian Pham

Viet KhangPhoto via We Heart Music

Yesterday in Vietnam, Viet Khang, the musician and human rights activist who has been imprisoned by the Vietnamese communist government since late 2011 because of his music, was finally released after four years in jail.

Brother Viet Khang, as many of us like to call him, wrote two songs in 2011: “Viet Nam Toi Dau (Where Is My Vietnam)?” and “Anh La Ai (Who Are You)?” Both of these tracks ask some serious questions about the Vietnamese Communist Party and their governance, namely, “why are you selling our nation to the Chinese?” and, “why are you suppressing and terrorizing our people for defending the country?”

As you may know, it is illegal to ask questions in Vietnam, especially if they bring up how stupid or cowardly the communist leadership is. And so, for his courage and the willingness to ask questions, Brother Viet Khang was arrested and sentenced to four years in jail.

Vietnam. Where asking a simple question such as, “why don’t we just defend our country?” can get you sentenced to four years in prison. But, I digress.

As of yesterday, December 14, 2015, it is reported that Viet Khang has finally been released from captivity. According to SBS, Viet Khang’s mother is awaiting his return home. There is not yet news of his safe arrival at this time of writing.

Let us all pray for Viet Khang and his family, and hope that the brave musician returns home to his family soon, if he is not home already.

One More Version of “DMCS” That You Need to Hear, It’s the Remix

Posted in Music, Politics, Society with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 26, 2015 by Ian Pham

DMCS Remix Performed by LDleKINGImage via Youtube

I’ve shared two versions of the popular song “Fuck Communism,” or “DMCS,” on this blog already, so it only makes sense to share the last version for you all to hear. There’s one more out there, it’s the remix, and it’s performed by LDleKING, a fellow rapper and friend of the original version’s author, Nah.

This is technically the second version, since it was released shortly following the original back in January of this year, with the English version by Mondega released several months after that in April.

There are no subtitles for this one, unfortunately for my English listeners. But fret not, for the subject matter is still the same, and I will make a little summary for you all below the video. Vietnamese-speaking listeners should not have a problem understanding this song.

Here is “DMCS (Remix),” and since it is performed by a rapper from the same circle as Nah, and is recognized by Nah, I guess we can call it the “Official Remix.”

Summary: In terms of lyrics, the subject matter is similar to the other versions. LDleKING rips the communists apart, pointing out how stupid they are, how pathetic they are, how they are traitors to the nation, and how they are absolute losers. Like the other versions, LDleKING doesn’t pull any punches in verbally destroying the Vietnamese Communist Party, which makes this song fun to listen to as well. It’s fantastic.

Well, there you have it, people. Another fire track by another talented Vietnamese musician. Keep fighting the good fight, fellas.

Enjoy your weekend, everyone.

… And remember: Fuck communism.

I Don’t Know Who Mondega Is, But He Performs “DMCS 2,” It’s in English, and You All Should Listen

Posted in Music, Politics, Society, Videos with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 13, 2015 by Ian Pham

DMCS 2 Performed By MondegaImage via Youtube

The headline pretty much speaks for itself. Rapper Nah’s Youtube channel has this alternate version of “DMCS,” aka “Fuck Communism” on it, performed by a rapper who goes by the name Mondega, and, great news, it’s all in English.

This track has a different beat and different lyrics than the original, but the subject matter is still the same. The communists are garbage, they ruined the country, and they deserve to die. It’s a good listen, and for my people overseas, the song, like I said, is in English, so you can all enjoy it! Sadly, there is no Vietnamese translation for those of you reading from Vietnam, but if you’re already reading this, then you can understand it anyways, so it’s all good!

(Note: I wouldn’t use the close captions (CC) button for this one, it’ll just make you laugh.)

Here’s “DMCS 2/Fuck Communism 2,” performed by Mondega. Enjoy!

Some notable lines from the song:

“… Communism sounds good until you grow up in this shit.”

“This is the predicament, underneath the politics.

I just think democracy’s a better way to live.”

“It’s about to be a war, I’m just raising my army.

I check my website and Hanoi seems to be on it.”

“If I should die a martyr, I just hope you see my vision.

I’m just a freedom fighter, disguised as a musician.”

Keep spittin’ that truth, Mondega.

Fuck communism.

This New Song by a Vietnamese Rapper Bashing the Communists Will Make You Want to Dance Like No One is Watching, Yell Out “F**k Communism!” With The Windows Down

Posted in Music, Politics, Society with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 16, 2015 by Ian Pham

D.M.C.S.Okay, maybe not exactly, but there is in fact a new song out there that has been making waves on the internet. Written and performed by Saigon rapper Son Nah, “DMCS,” or “Địt Mẹ Cộng Sản,” which in English means, “Fuck Communism,” is an aggressive lyrical onslaught that completely tears the Vietnamese Communist Party to pieces. Corruption, cowardice, being morons that are unfit to govern, all of the things that we so often cover on this website in regards to the communists, Nah covers it all in “DMCS,” with his own poetic style, backed up by a hard and catchy beat.

Born and raised in Vietnam, the young lyricist Nah is currently studying overseas in the United States. Before coming to the U.S., Nah had already made a name for himself in Saigon’s hip-hop music scene. Even prior to his departure from Vietnam to the U.S., Nah had created music that brings to light the social decay that is rampant in Vietnamese society under the current regime. It was not until his arrival in the United States however, with the freedom of the press and absence of authoritarian censorship, did Nah see just how repressive and self-destructive the state of Vietnam currently is. With the free-flow of information, news, and unabated coverage of how corrupted, cowardly, and depraved the Vietnamese Communist Party truly is, Nah became inspired to speak about the matter in his new controversial track, “DMCS.”

The powerful and provocative subject matter in Nah’s song is reminiscent of our courageous brother Viet Khang. The key difference however, is that Viet Khang’s lyrics, though equally passionate and forceful, are more restrained, elegant, civil. Nah’s lyrics on the other hand, are just straight up nasty. If I could use one word to describe his work, I would simply state it as raw. And man, is it ever raw. With the lyrical versatility that a musical genre such as hip-hop music provides, our guy Nah just unloads on the Communist Party in his rhymes, saying what we’ve already been saying all this time, but with a fearless and defiant flow.

I tend to limit the use of profanity on this blog, but in this instance, I will make an exception. And, if I do say so myself, even though it may or may not make you want to dance like no one is watching (it might), and/or yell out, “Fuck Communism!” with your windows down (it will), I would just like to say that this track is, and I’m not even sarcastic here, straight fiyaaa!

It’s pretty damn good, folks. Just check it out for yourself.

(Note to my non-Vietnamese speakers: This song is in Vietnamese, but Son Nah has included the English subtitles, so that all of us can appreciate what he has to say. Just click on the “cc” button at the bottom right corner of the video (after pressing play) to enable the subtitles. Alright, now just sit back, relax, and enjoy.)

This won’t be the last we’ll hear of Nah. From the looks of things, it’s only the beginning. He’s spoken in an interview on SBTN, he’s made an insightful video on Youtube commenting on why he believes Vietnamese society is in serious trouble, and in terms of music, he has been and continues to come out with fresh new material. This guy is going places.

On a related note, I just can’t help but think of this after listening to Nah’s song.

Flag Pull Down

Fuck Communism.