Souphine Phatsoungneune (1927-2019)

Lao opera singer and composer Souphine Phatsoungneune passed away on June 4th in Vermont after a long and distinguished career in the arts. He was 92.

We never met in person, but I was introduced to his work through his collaborations with Kundiman fellow Phayvanh Leukhamhan, and their bilingual  “I Think of This Every Time I Think of Mountains”, which was published, recorded and performed many times upon its completion in the late 2000s.

It’s unfortunately very difficult to find now, but I hope it will be reissued in the future. His passing reinforces for me the importance for our communities and elders to work more urgently with one another to preserve and record their voices and creativity, to share our diverse stories in our own words and on our own terms for this generation and those yet to come.

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