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Composer and multi-instrumentalist Van-Anh Vo is developing Songs of Strength with Iranian singer/songwriter Mahsa Vadat and Vietnamese American Non-Governmental Organization Network (VANGO).

Ms. Vo and Ms. Vadat share experiences as immigrants from war-torn countries that outwardly suppress women. Also collaborating are rapper Demone Carter (stage name DEM ONE), a musician and hip-hop artist, and members of Blood Moon Orchestra. The finished work will be in three movements: The first encompasses rap by DEM ONE and A Dao (poem singing) by Ms. Vo; the second bridges traditional Vietnamese and Iranian musical styles; and the third brings together the voices of all of the performers to represent the united strength of immigrants.

VANGO was formed in 2009 as a result of the dramatic rise in the number of Vietnamese American-led humanitarian organizations working for and with local and global communities to address the Vietnamese diaspora. In this project, VANGO will organize workshops with Ms. Vo, building on their prior experience working together on projects in the United States and Vietnam.

Van-Anh Vo is one of the finest performers of Vietnamese traditional instruments in the world and is gaining recognition as a composer. She has led and participated in major collaborative productions that include Pole Star with Alonzo King (2019); The Odyssey — From Vietnam to America with her own quartet (2014-16, supported by the Creative Work Fund); and “All Clear” with Kronos Quartet (2012). Songs of Strength is a natural progression of her work’s focus on music that addresses social issues and stories that matter to Vietnamese and other immigrant communities.

Photo by Jason Lew