Sat, Apr. 25th, 2009

Vienna Teng live

Sat, Apr. 25th, 2009 01:13 am
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I got to see Vienna Teng live today; it's been a while since I've seen her (a few years?). And she has a new album out!

I always think of her as a very American artist for some reason; possibly it's the folk influence in her music and how quite a few of her songs are very grounded in terms of place. Bay Area, San Francisco, New York, Kansas... she said there was more of the Midwest in some of these, which I hear.

My favorite of the new pieces was "Grandmother Song," which is extremely folksy and sounds like it should have banjoes, and yet has things about finding a guy in grad school and the focus on a career not art and the talk of running from bombs and war that feel extremely Chinese American to me. I read the lyrics after and realized there are no specific references at all, so I don't know how much I am reading into it. But the voice sounds like an immigrant voice, like someone who's picked up and packed and gone off somewhere else with nothing and clawed their way up. I love the mix of Americana with what many people may not think of as a quintessential American story. I, of course, think it is, and while I know there is the myth of America, land of the immigrants, the focus has historically been on immigrants who have been later assimilated into whiteness.

It's also interesting to hear the increase in styles she's trying out and playing with; very different from her first CD, which I always think of as a very first CD, introspective and interior and angsty. I like it, but I love her second one more for the way it plays with more styles and tells more stories.


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