Hmong Farmers Losing Battle Against Drought

December 6, 2014 § Leave a comment

May Vu explains to Hmong farming advocate Jon Thao that she cannot apply for an emergency loan from the USDA Farm Service Agency because she does not own her land. (Erica Mu/KQED)

May Vu explains to Hmong farming advocate Jon Thao that she cannot apply for an emergency loan from the USDA Farm Service Agency because she does not own her land. (Erica Mu/KQED)

This story was originally featured in KQED’s “The California Report.”

Groups of California farmers have been struggling to survive the state’s epic drought, and this year one group has started to lose the fight. Fresno County’s Hmong refugee producers are some of the state’s newest and most disadvantaged farmers — and they cannot afford the water necessary to keep their businesses going. Emergency loans are available from the government but, as many are discovering, the help is often too little too late. « Read the rest of this entry »

Audiophiles: The hidden musicality of the human voice

February 22, 2013 § Leave a comment


If you had to design music for a performance called Chinese Whispers, you might
jump to some pretty familiar sounds – mandolin, bamboo flute, maybe a gong or two. But artist Rene Yung’s Chinese Whispers isn’t that kind of a project.

Part “investigative journalism” and part “epic poem,” the project includes a performance of Chinese American oral histories gathered along the route of the transcontinental railroad – stories that otherwise would have been forgotten. So when thinking about the soundscape for the project, both Yung and sound designer Jeremiah Moore wanted to break outside of the “Chinese box” and honor the material that they had – voices. « Read the rest of this entry »

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