On May 20 and 21, the Center for Lao Studies is bringing Molam Tan Smay: Molam in the Modern Era, a modern Lao Opera, developed through a collaboration among members of the Lao Bantheung Sinh molam troupe of Oakland, its troupe leader Mr. Khankham Phaxayavong, and Lao-American rap artist One Hunned. Performances at the East Bay Center for the Performing Arts in Richmond, California, will be at 6-8 pm on Saturday, May 20, and 4-6 pm on Sunday, May 21. On Sunday, the 21st, from 6-10 pm, the molam cast will meet and greet guests, and food, beverages, and entertainment will be provided. Tickets are available.
Molam Tan Smay: Molam in the Modern Era is a bilingual performance that tells the story of Lao refugees — their love and regrets — through their journey to and struggles in the United States. The Center writes, “We are pleased to provide the opportunity to share this fundamental traditional Lao art form with the general public, and to support Lao artists who still practice molam. In Lao, molam is ubiquitous, as troupes are regularly hired to perform at temple festivals, receptions, and other events.” The Center believes that modernized molam reung, which combines hip hop with the traditional skills and knowledge of a molam troupe, can help to preserve molam.