Archives for category: The World

In December of 2012, I spent Shan New Years on the Burma/Thai border, talking to Shan refugees in a camp there.

A large Buddha sits at the top a hill in Piang Luang township. Shan New Year's is celebrated on the hillside below it, and the Thailand-Myanmar border is a few hundred yards beyond it.

A large Buddha sits at the top of a hill in Piang Luang township. Shan New Year is celebrated on the hillside below it, and the Thailand-Myanmar border is a few hundred yards beyond it. Koung Jor is on the next hill over.

Advertisements
MR_V

Robin Girod, Xavier Bray, and Cyril Yeterian at the Festival International de Louisiane in Lafayette.

Mama Rosin’s Facebook page  lists Amédé Ardoin, The Clash, and The Velvet Underground as a few of the band’s musical influences, and that gives a pretty good sense for what they’re all about. They’re three young Swiss guys psyched about the punk attitude they find in old cajun and zydeco music.

I had a chance to talk to them and see them play at the Festival International de Louisiane in Lafayette at the end of April. Hopefully they’ll be back to the U.S. soon. Until then, here’s the story I did on them for The World, here’s their homepage, and here’s their Bandcamp page where you can listen to a bunch of their music. And you really should.

You can also read two blogposts I wrote while my friend Adam and I were tooling around in and around Lafayette, they’re here and here.

* Does anyone know why this is a thing cajuns are always yelling in their songs?

YellowDogs

The Yellow Dogs at Cameo Gallery in Brooklyn

The Yellow Dogs got their start on the underground alt music scene in Tehran. They were featured in a semi-documentary about that scene called No One Knows About Persian Cats, and the scrutiny got a bit intense after that. They left the country and settled in the young-band mecca of Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

That’s where I caught one of their shows, and interviewed frontman Obaash. Yes, he does share a loft with his bandmates and a few other Iranian artists. Living the dream.

Here’s the story for The World.

Lots of cool music happening in these parts at the Arab/Middle-Eastern/North-African/Jazz/New-Music intersection. (It’s a busy intersection.) I caught Brahim Fribgane‘s great Andalusian/Moroccan project last week at Terraza 7 in Queens; band and venue both highly recommended. A few days earlier I’d seen Amino Belyamani‘s Dawn of Midi turn in a mesmerizing set at Rockwood Music Hall in Manhattan.

Fribgane and Belyamani shared the stage with a bunch of others in January at a festival that’s emerging as a meeting-of-the-minds for this scene. (I think it’s fair to call it a scene. It’s a scene, right?) The festival is called Maqam Fest, it’s put on by Alwan for the Arts, and curated by multi-talented Amir ElSaffar. Here’s the story I did for The World.

From the left: Ole Mathisen, Amir ElSaffar,  and Dena El Saffar of the group Salaam at Maqam Fest in January.

From the left: Ole Mathisen, Amir ElSaffar, and Dena El Saffar of the group Salaam at Maqam Fest in January.

Here’s something else that’s happening at Rutgers University: planning and public policy professor Hooshang Amirahmadi is running for president of Iran.

AmirahmadiAlbright1

One thing with potential to bring positive change to Myanmar is the Comprehensive Education Sector Review. (Policy types = not so good with punchy titles.) A bunch of experts from all over are digging in and trying to build a qualitative, broad picture of the country’s creaky education system.

I got a chance to see one small piece of that system–a free elementary school run by a Buddhist monastery near Yangon. Here’s the story I did for The World.

Phoo Myint Mo and Chit Loon Oo, two students at Thiri Mingalar Monastic School in Pyi Thar Township near Yangon.

Phoo Myint Mo and Chit Loon Oo, two students at Thiri Mingalar Monastic School in Pyi Thar Township near Yangon.

I hurried up to Mandalay planning to head from there to Monywa, where ongoing protests against a Chinese-owned copper mine had just been broken up pretty violently by local security forces. When I got to Mandalay, though, I found out that The World already had someone in Monywa covering the demonstration. (Sometimes communication breaks down a bit when there’s an 11-and-a-half-hour difference between reporter and editor.)

So there I was in Mandalay. Here’s the story I cobbled together.

Signs on the stage at the Moustache Brothers' performance space in Mandalay. The  photograph shows Lu Maw with Aung San Suu Kyi.

Signs on the stage at the Moustache Brothers’ space in Mandalay. Par Par Lay and Aung San Suu Kyi are in the photo behind the signs.

I met Ah Noh of the Kachin Women’s Association Thailand (KWAT) a couple years ago when she was in New York for meetings at the U.N. She and Debbie Stothard of ALTSEAN Burma talked to a small group at Columbia about the current situation in Kachin State. I got back in touch with her when I was heading to Chiang Mai, Thailand, where KWAT is based. We met and Ah Noh filled me in on what KWAT was working on, and a few days later she hosted me at her church.

Here’s the story I did for The World about that visit, and what the current situation for ethnic minorities in Burma looks like seen across the border in Chiang Mai.

Christmas tree at Wunpawng Church in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Christmas tree and a young worshiper at Wunpawng Church in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

42 members of the National League for Democracy won parliamentary seats in April’s by-election in Myanmar. You’ve probably heard of at least one of them. I got to sit down with another one of them while I was in Yangon in December. Phyu Phyu Thin is a longtime HIV/AIDS activist, and now an MP representing Mingalar Taung Nyunt in Yangon.

Here’s the profile I did for The World.

Phyu Phyu Thin on the campaign Trail. (Photo: Htoo Tay Zar/Wikipedia)

Phyu Phyu Thin on the campaign trail. (Photo: Htoo Tay Zar/Wikipedia)

One thing that struck me as I got into some of the policy issues at play in Thailand’s migrant worker laws is how similar they are to ones being debated in the U.S., and how Thailand has tackled them more actively and successfully than we have. The Thai system is still a mess, though.

Here’s a story I did for The World about new wrinkles in the Thai system for giving migrant workers from neighboring countries legal status.

Public bathrooms at a migrant worker camp outside of Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Public bathrooms at a migrant worker camp outside of Chiang Mai, Thailand.