Are any of my readers out there Vietnamese? I was turned on to this amazing genre by "the Jewel of La Puente," the one and only (OK, one of thousands but still one of a kind) Ngoc Nuyen. I have asked the experts here at Amoeba Hollywood about "Vietnamese New Wave" (also referred to as Asian New Wave at times) groups and no one seems even remotely familiar with any of them, with the exception of Chris Matthews, to whom "Modern Talking" sounds familiar ...
First of all, when people talk about Vietnamese New Wave, they’re not talking about Vietnamese artists (although there is Thu Thuy, Lynda Trang Dai and supposedly a tieng viet cover of a Night Society song), but rather a movement that includes mostly German Euro-disco, Italo-disco and English synthpop artists who acquired, through means that no one seems to understand (although it definitely involves mixtapes) massive popularity amongst Vietnamese in Cali, Texas and Canada (and maybe elsewhere).
And whilst there’ve been at least four or five documentarians who’ve explored the still supposedly strange popularity of Morrissey amongst Mexicans and Mexican-Americans, to my knowledge no one has yet delved into the mysterious “Vietnamese New Wave” movement in which (in addition to OMD, Pet Shop Boys and Gazebo's "I Like Chopin") four German performers, with no radio play, no MTV exposure, no Amazon recommendations, no local performances came, against all odds, to achieve stardom in the Vietnamese immigrant population.
Amoeba Hollywood Wraps Up 2007
There’s always lots of fun stuff happening here at the big Amoeba in beautiful downtown Hollywood CA. But 2007 was just bananas! Rock stars, reissues, bashes, balls, Beatles, etc. etc.! Should auld acquaintance be forgot, I shall now fire up my poor abused memory chip and attempt to recall all the good times from last year. For auld lang syne that is!
Surely the most memorable event of 2007 was our biggest in-store performance ever, when Paul McCartney played a “secret” 90-minute show on June 27! Yes that Paul McCartney, “the cute one” as teen Beatles fans knew him in the ‘60s! Sir Paul had just released his latest album in the Spring, his best in years, entitled Memory Almost Full and he wanted to celebrate with secret shows in London, New York and Los Angeles.
His choice of Amoeba as a venue (while enormously flattering and logistically terrifying to us) showed his true lifelong passion for music. What better way to show it than to play a career-capping concert in a room full of every kind of music from around the world, past present and future?
Suffice to say, the “secret” of his secret show got out somehow and next thing you know, we had a half-mile long line of fans camping out outside our building! 400 fans made it in at last (along with plenty of VIPs including Ringo Starr, Jeff Lynne and more), and Paul showed that he’s no fossil – he rocked harder than most young’uns on a joyous set of Beatle favorites and his newest tunes.
Recorded circa 1988 when he was just a wee lad of seven years old is the mind-boggling video footage above of percussionist prodigy Jacob Armen. Pretty damn impressive skills for such a young kid! However as you can witness for yourself if you go onto YouTube and do a search on Jacob and follow threads linking to later drum performances by him up to recently, you will see that while he is still a damn good drummer -- as is often the case with child prodigies -- he didn't continue to evolve and develop his skills at such an impressive level.
Equally impressive is the video below, given that the young percussionist in it, Levi Eshleman, is only 3 years of age. Amazing considering most kids are having difficulty just doing basic skills at this age! This clip below was originally featured on a DVD titled Be A Drumhead that featured Will Kennedy and Bob Gatzen, who produced a series of inspirational DVD's featuring young talents like Levi.