“To find a singer like Channthy,” said Poulsen, “is like discovering a young Etta James or Nina Simone. She’s really the barefoot Cambodian diva of the rice fields.”
Iranian musician Shahin Najafi has a price on his head. Iranian clerics also have a fatwa out on him. But none of this is stopping him from touring North America.
The day after 14-year-old Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head by the Taliban for speaking out for women’s education, Zaki Syed, a 24-year-old Pakistani-American rapper from Sacramento, California, started getting a lot of phone calls asking him to write a rap about it.
Musician Mohsen Namjoo has been called the “Bob Dylan” of Iran. He’s currently in exile in East Oakland, after his music caught the ire of Tehran.
California’s Central Valley is home to thousands of Hmong refugees from Laos who often rely upon traditional shamans for their medical care.
Thousands of Middle Eastern refugees resettle in California each year. Many come traumatized by memories of violence and persecution. They struggle with depression and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) while trying to navigate a new life in a foreign land.