Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The real "Hmong Idol"

Yes, I know that "Hmong Idol" was over a year ago, but a recent YouTube clip got me thinking about it again. It's a Hmong dub version of "American Idol" featuring the talentless crowd-favorite, Sanjaya, singing the Lee Pao classic, "Ntuj no tuaj lawm." (I've written previously about this song and its myriad interpretations on YouTube, and I hope to write more soon.)

Of course, the real winner of the 2005 "Hmong Idol USA" contest was, Pagnia Xiong - a talented young singer whose performances can also be found on YouTube, including this classy rendition of "Plaub sab phab ntsa." (Brief interview of Xiong from Asian Wisconzine).

With it's wide vocal range and sustained phrase endings (providing ample opportunity for extensive R&B obbligati), "Ntuj no" actually wouldn't be a bad choice for an "American Idol" audition. A girl from Pagnia Xiong's hometown (Sarah Krueger of Eau Claire, WI) actually made it to Hollywood Week this year, and it doesn't seem improbable that someone like Pagnia couldn't make it there, too. Whoever it is, I just hope they're a Melinda, not a Sanjaya. (If Melinda doesn't win this season, there is no justice in the world.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hello there! I just want to express my profound gratitude and appreciation for your work and dedication on Hmong music. Hmong arts of all forms are a quickly fading as new generations in America assimilate to accommodate this society. I know this first hand because I am Hmong and sadly I know very little about the culture my family came from. As I have grown older, I've come to realize just how unique my culture is but it also reminds me how little I understand it. Your work helps better everyone as it helps people , Hmong and non-Hmong alike, understand and appreciate diversity of culture.

whew...now that i've got all that off my chest, my last tidbit is that: i go to school with Pagnia at the University of Wisconsin-Madison! She's a very nice girl and yes she is super talented. i think just the fact that you know about her as well as all the other hmong traditional music is super neat! I look forward to reading more of your posts!

-Mao Lo