Here I am signing a hat for my rap partner-in-crime, MC Loko
In my career as a diplomat I have given a lot of speeches before a lot of different audiences, but I’ve never given a speech like the one I gave last Saturday night at the Street Jamz music concert in Vientiane.
Actually, it wasn’t a speech, it was a rap. And not just a rap, but a rap in Lao!
Street Jamz is an annual music concert and sports festival organized by the artists collective called Lao Bangfai. This year it took place at a beautiful spot on the Mekong riverbank.
A B-Boy break dance battle at Street Jamz
The Embassy was one of the main sponsors of the event, so I was asked to give some remarks to open the concert. Well, I made a joke that, since it was a hip hop concert, I should try to do a rap (what was I thinking?). From there, the whole idea kind of snowballed, and next thing I knew, I was about to go onstage and deliver a rap to 500 teenagers.
I was a little nervous, I have to admit. But thanks to some great coaching (and beat-boxing) from my young rapper friend MC Loko, I got through it okay. It seemed like the crowd really enjoyed it anyway.
As I told the audience afterwards, I don’t claim to be a real rapper, but I do like hip-hop music. I like it because it’s relatively new, and it shows how young people outside the mainstream can push art forms to evolve and change. I’ll bet some of the kids in that audience at the Street Jamz concert will be the ones pushing Lao art and culture in new directions a few years from now.
After my rap, I was kind of on a high, and it was really enjoyable to sit and listen to the artists who performed next. I can’t wait for next year’s Street Jamz!
Follow this link to watch a video of my performance (if you dare): http://www.youtube.com/user/USEmbassyVientiane
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