Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Somphone Phetnamsanh | Broken Heart


 
Break your heart across the first track 

 
Allow track 8 to smash into smaller pieces what remains of your heart after having heard the first track 

Pound your heart into dust.

It almost never happens with proper names, and it isn't going to happen again soon with Somphone Phetnamsanh's, but prior to my posting of this album, had you typed SP's full name into the search field on the home page belonging to Larry Page and Sergey Brin's multinational corporation providing internet-related products and services, including internet search, cloud computing, software and advertising technologies, you'd have received the following message:


Your search - somphone phetnamsanh - did not match any documents.

It's baffling. Especially considering the Fort Knox-level anti-copyright infringement warnings printed on the verso of Broken Heart's cover sleeve:


Equally perplexing is the complete absence of Sainuphieng Music Productions on the web as well. Baffling, in part, because the CD, CD jewel case and CD cover are all in what appear to be brand-spanking-new condition. 

I just typed Sainuphieng Music Productions' address, 4468 Breckenridge Way, Sacramento, CA, into Google Maps then clicked on Street View:



As you'll see, there is no sign of life in that house, which looks utterly empty through the windows. The lawn--unlike those belonging to the houses on either side--is dead and brown. There is a massive white industrial grade trash bin in the driveway, filled to the brim. The photo, by Google, has a 2011 copyright date. 

So it's a mystery who Somphone Phetnamsanh is, or was, and when this music was recorded. But what is clear is that he recorded Broken Heart at SNP Music Production, in Sacramento, Calif., or, at the very least, he used SNP's workstation keyboards to create the album. "Look!" the inside front cover demands, "All These Digital Keyboards Come With Lao Styles, a Hardrive And Oriental Styles." (Gary want.)

This poses a serious question, though: How many of the CDs that I've plucked from coast to shining coast were not, as outsiders such as ourselves might imagine, produced abroad and shipped in to the United States, but rather, created here and then distributed to the target immigrant population and, perhaps, back to the homeland? 

This is actually the subject of a longish academic article by Kieu Linh Caroline Valverde, "Making Transnational Vietnamese Music," which looks at the production and distribution of Viet Kieu, music performed by the Vietnamese living outside of Vietnam (a lot of which I also picked up while in Portland). It's an article I plan to read the moment I sign off here. 

More, obviously, on this subject soon ...

2 comments:

peter said...

love this one

roberth said...

can you repost this one to adrive?
love your site. it is going to keep me very busy. in have been here before for gnawa.
thanks
robert