Ahh, National Culture Hall!
The Culture Hall fascinates me more than anything in Vientiane. Perhaps, it’s because I love the stage and anything related to stage production that being inside the halls gives me an all-tingly feeling. It also brings back fond memories of my few “theatre and production” days, the amazing plays I’ve seen, and my first visit in the Culture Hall way back 2009 as secondary photographer for World Food Day.
And because I live right across, or okay, a little farther from the Culture Hall, I’ve seen events unfold, as workers transform the grounds into something big and creative. When I saw the gigantic golden Dokchampa trophy being put up for the second Lao Music Awards….goosebumps!!
Roughly 3 years ago (OMG it was three years ago!), when I was an intern at Vientiane Times, the first Lao Music Awards (LMA) was launched. While I was reading it in the entertainment section of the paper, I found it interesting that they were holding this event because it’s a sign that the entertainment industry in Laos is flourishing. For some reason, Thai dramas and music are more popular in the country, so I bet this event does not only recognize local singers, songwriters and producers but it also proves that Laos has something to offer.
LMA is a national event under the Ministry of Information and Culture and organized by Sengdara Communications (oh yes, people, Sengdara the Gym is bigger than it seems!). During the first LMA, there were only a few artists nominated. The Lao recording industry has undergone a two-year “gestation” period wherein the number of artists, producers and record labels rose. In 2010, with more than 70 artists, and over 10 recording companies, LMA2 was created.
As soon as Pocklan and I found our seats, the opening number came to life. It was Alexandra’s, one of Laos’ celebrities, performance of a Lao Traditional song “Champa Muang Lao” with a little remix because suddenly hiphop dancers emerged. The perfomance ended with Alexandra’s violin-playing prowess. Even from afar she looked gorgeous and her Lao skirt was just divine, but the chunky red shoes? It’s a statement, I guess.
The master of ceremonies came on stage and started introducing the program, sponsors, speakers and all that jazz. Performances from participating artists were equally entertaining. Awards were given, uproars and cheers from fans and fellow artists…it was a good night! Only that I had some comments here and there, it’s kind of automatic for me. Three points to improve: 1) Synchronize choreography; 2) Transitions (avoid dead-air); and 3) Blocking.
We left before the ceremonies ended and took some shots of the red carpet! Here are some shots I managed to take, okay, they are a bit far. But still!
Looking forward to next year, that is if I’m still around. Oh well. 🙂