Kyaw Kyaw Naing - Life in America

Life in America

In 1999, the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) invited Naing to give a performance. After visiting England, he came to Los Angeles along with musicians from other Asian and European countries. His intention was to stay for a short while and go home. But when he was at UCLA, he was amazed that Burmese music did not exist there. He saw musical instruments from many countries, but not a single Burmese musical instrument—not even a harp or a xylophone. He was inspired to introduce Burmese music to America and to help the Burmese community in the United States.

Many of the instruments and sets which have been shipped from Burma belong to Naing's family. He has slowly been building a career as a Burmese musician. Evan Ziporyn from Bang on a Can All-Stars invited him to a workshop at MIT. He has since performed with Bang on a Can and toured with a group from UCLA.

Naing said that, like jazz musicians, Burmese players "look at one another and listen to the tune and play accordingly... even though they might play the same piece of music, the next time they play it differently." When asked if it sounds anything like jazz, he laughed and said, "No, it's totally different."

As of 2005, Naing lived in Sunnyside, Queens, New York.

Read more about this topic:  Kyaw Kyaw Naing

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