Karaoke Parties with Drunk Vietnamese Uncles

Karaoke is an essential element of any good Vietnamese party. Karaoke and tons of alcohol. Growing up, after a few beers, my uncles without a doubt would bust out the karaoke machine. Every fun-loving Vietnamese/Vietnamese-American family has a karaoke machine. Even I have one, although ours is sadly no longer in commission.

*This song is a family favorite amongst my female cousins and I. Like most Vietnamese songs, it’s a heartbroken woman singing about her no-good, unfaithful lover. I honestly have no idea why we love this song so much, since we were all too young to relate to it…I hope. 

Karaoke has the power to bring people together like no other. Once you’ve seen that side of someone, you can no longer un-see it. What song did they choose? Did they go solo or partake in a duet? Who did they choose for their duet partner? How much did they drink before they dared to grab the mic? All of these questions bring deep insight into someone’s soul.  Continue reading

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The Rad Life of Cinders in Six Jams

I recently read an article on NPR (yes, I read NPR rather than listen to it) about telling your life story in six songs, so I felt inspired to write about mine. Like most people, I love music, so much that I even got a pretty much useless certificate in ethnomusicology (just kidding Professor G.! I probably used what I learned in your classes much more than the info in my physical science classes…what a nerd…), because I love seeing how music plays out in culture and relationships and what not. Sometimes, I can just hear a song and think about a special someone(s) or a moment in my life. Amazing how an audio experience can trigger such vivid memories, huh? Or see how music impacts a social setting. Like how a bar never fails to get excited when Journey plays. Without further delay, here’s six songs that pretty much describes my quarter century life so far (although not necessarily my six favorite songs).

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Music (In)fidelity

I am a notorious song cheater. You know when you and your friends have special moments with a song and consider it ‘your’ song. Well, I have these moments with different friends with the same song. I didn’t really notice this until my close friend called me out.

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Pop REGGAE-fied

Jamaica is a very musically rich country. Everywhere you go, you can hear music blaring or someone bursting out into song. Even the goats wake you up very morning with their sad ballads. For example, when a co-worker was introducing me to Jamaican festival music, Continue reading