As always, the celebration at Wat Lao Buddhavong of Catlett, VA was big, but I do have to say that not as many people showed up this year, I’m not sure if it’s because they changed the event to a Friday and Saturday since Friday was July 4th, and many Lao people didn’t know this because it was normally held on Saturday and Sunday in the past. I think the high gas price also has a lot to do with people’s decision of traveling this year, but I do have to say that many Americans showed up, there is a Vietnamese lady that I spoke to that really enjoy the festivity of the event; there were Cambodians and Thai people there as well. The Possible singers from Thailand: Mike Piromporn, Tukkatan, Fon were not there, but that didn’t disappoint me because there were many great performers there that made up for it.
Since we live far, we got there on Thursday, and the venues started setting up their tents, and some started selling. I’m very fortunate to run into Jonny Olsen on Thursday in front of the Sala Houng Tum (worship hall), and it was my sister that first recognized him, we saw him performed last year but he was known as Meng Tub Tao from his previous album. He is real nice, I spoke to him and learned that his music is changing some, he realized the roots of Khaen music is Lao, not the Lao Issan of Thailand, but Lao as in the country of Laos. Jonny traveled to Laos to learn Lao music, and has produced his latest album called, “Jonny Yak Pen Kon Lao” (Jonny wants to be Lao), and it’s made in Laos. My dad is impressed with his singing, he sounds just like a Lao person singing, and his Khaen songs are refreshing to hear, feels like back home.
One of the announcers was Aui Vannasone Joy Keodara, I’m very fortunate to see her in person.
A young rising star, Anna-Anhly Vorarath, she sings beautiful Lao songs, and I’m amazed of her talent and ability, she is the true Morlam Noy USA. There was one part during her concert that was sort of funny, after she came out in a beautiful Lao traditional outfit, with Dork Champa pinned to her hair, she told the audience in Lao that ‘Tar Anna 2 nati, Anna Si Pai Thay…” (please wait for Anna for about 2 minutes, Anna with go change (but the word changing also means using the bathroom in Lao) and she got stuck and couldn’t finish her sentence right away, the audiences were amused of what she said, I crossed my finger rooting for her to finish her sentence, then she finally said, “Thay Kheung” (change her outfit). She has beautiful voice and the audiences absolutely loved her, I know I do.