Alan Aranas and Brian Le visit class

Last Tuesday, we had the honor of having two Asian American musicians - Brian Le and Alan Aranas - in my class MUSI208D Music in Asian America. Brian is a Vietnamese American hip hop dancer, choreographer and R&B singer; Alan is a Filipino American composer, songwriter, and studio producer (he's the head of NonStop Access Studio). Both Brian and Alan are based out of the metropolitan area of Washington, DC. They have been collaborating for years under the name of Trak N Feel. The premise of their presentations was to relate their career, its present state and history, to their cultural background and ethnic identity. No doubt, the students ate it all up.

A few highlights of the day include Alan's presentations of his scores for video games Robota and Vampire, Brian's hip hop dancer demo and instructions, Alan's live piano performance of one of his songs, and Brian's interactive workshop on issues of representation in the US music industry.

Alan is indeed a music professional. His high-level compositions and songs display convincing statements about his passion for music and professional training. To reconnect with Alan via this opportunity is utmost pleasant. [Alan and I were undergrad classmates at VCU in the late 90s].

I was particularly impressed by Brian's ability to interact with the students in a personal, experiential way. He posed a series of thought-provoking questions that enabled the students to intellectually engage with Brian's concerns and issues regarding the racialized music industry in the US. Later I asked him to consider teaching. He shrugged with modesty and indicated that he's only had teaching experiences in the context of dance instructions. Brian's passion is infectious.

To find out more about Brian, check out Charlene Brown's interview of Brian Le.

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