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Sights & Sounds: Vân-Ánh Vanessa Võ

Christine Jade

Sights & Sounds is your weekly guide to the Bay Area arts scene. Emmy award winning composer and musician Vân-Ánh Vanessa Võ told KALW’s Truc Nguyen about three fantastic arts events happening around the Bay this weekend.


UMI is a performance of Japanese butoh, dancing and taiko drumming from Oneness Butoh and Rain Ensemble. This is a two part show exploring the effects of Global Environmental Annihilation.  Each program pays homage to the sea and to the spirit of the residents of Minamata, Japan. Residents of this fishing village suffered from Mercury poisoning caused by the dumping of mercury into the Minamata Bay by a local plastic manufacturing company for almost 70 years. Shows are happening This Saturday and Sunday at the Douglass Morrison Theatre in Hayward.

“I know the artistic director Kallan Nishimoto of the Rain Taiko Ensemble. I will say, he’s first artist in America who invited me to perform when I first moved here.”

 Electronic Improvisations is a new concert series from electronic music composer Chris Brown. This is the first performance of live electronic ensembles that Brown will curate during the next two years and he’ll be joined by fellow electronic composer James Fei as well as Kronos Quartet composer Soo Yeon Lyuh.  The concert is happening  this Saturday at the Center for New Music in San Francisco 

“Even though he plays with a computer, it’s not like an instrument to just type words and run programs, but it’s really an instrument, a musical instrument.”



The Berkeley Symphony presents Dvořák & Ellington. This concert is a collaboration with the Berkeley High School Jazz ensemble and will include compositions of Antonin Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9 in E minor as well as Duke Ellington’s Black, Brown and Beige. It’s happening this Sunday at Zellerbach Hall on the UC Berkeley campus.

“You will hear the same music be presented in a different angle because each group will have a different way of presenting it.”

You can catch Vân-Ánh Vanessa Võ this weekend along with Alonzo King at Creative Minds, an event merging storytelling, live music, and Vietnamese cooking. Next month check out Vanessa’s collaboration with LINES Ballet as she’ll be performing alongside the company for their Spring Season.