The Laos Song Cycle

Introducing The Laos Song Cycle

The Laos Song Cycle, a project led by François Minaux, has for goal to:
  1. perform and deliver to its audience a multi-disciplinary artistic event centered around the U.S. Secret War in Laos, Laotian visual art, and Laotian gastronomy,

  2. increase awareness and educate the local community in Austin, Texas about the U.S. Secret War in Laos,

  3. build a community of performers and participants on stage and within his audience that is willing to collaborate by addressing and processing the impact of the U.S. Secret War in Laos,

  4. carry the voices of revolutionary women in Laos that fought for their country,

  5. convey people's emotional responses, feelings, forgiveness and empathy to move toward reconciliation,

  6. provide to its audience and collaborators the possibility to help by sharing their thoughts, emotions, ideas, kindness and support by listening, learning, and by supporting individuals and Legacies of War’s mission,

  7. reach or exceed its goal of $5000 of raised money to benefit Legacies of War, an organization funding the removal of UXO. (Unexploded Ordnances laying on Laotian lands);

to be held in the tap room of 4th Tap Brewery Co-op during the winter holiday period in 2022.

During this event, tickets holders will be able to enjoy Lao-american gastronomy prepared and served by Chef Bob Somsith while listening to The Laos Song Cycle, an experimental-music concert based on collected stories of people that lived through the U.S. Secret War in Laos composed and performed by François Minaux. Artworks by Chicago based Lao American artist Chantala Kommanivanh will be projected during the whole event and physical artworks displayed live in the tap room and on stage. Artworks will be available to be silently auctioned off. The event will be held at 4th Tap Brewery Co-op in Austin, TX with aditional support from Density512.

Legacies of War, is a fiscally sponsored project of NEO Philanthropy, Inc, dedicated to raising awareness about the history of the Vietnam War-era bombing in Laos and advocate for the clearance of unexploded bombs and survivor assistance, to provide space for healing the wounds of war, and to create greater hope for a future of peace.” Source: Wikipedia

From 1964 to 1973, the U.S. dropped more than two million tons of ordnance on Laos during 580,000 bombing missions—equal to a planeload of bombs every 8 minutes, 24-hours a day, for 9 years – making Laos the most heavily bombed country per capita in history. The bombings were part of the U.S. Secret War in Laos to support the Royal Lao Government against the Pathet Lao and to interdict traffic along the Ho Chi Minh Trail. The bombings destroyed many villages and displaced hundreds of thousands of Lao civilians during the nine-year period.” Source:
Legacies of war’s website

The U.S. Secret War in Laos became known as the “Laos model” in modern airstrike strategy and is also concidered as the first successful proxy war in modern history. Indeed, the Laos Secret War was conducted without the public knowledge and is still today mostly unknown by the general public. The secret war was a massive bombing campain with very limited ground operations therefore limiting civilian contact with foreign troups and keeping its secrecy. Source: François Minaux.

Bob Somsith is the chef and owner of SXSE Food Co. “Our mission is to share our life experiences through our food. Bob’s gastronomy is "A modern interpretation of Laotian cuisine in America." Chef Bob will guide you through multiple courses expertly paired with 4th Tap Brewing's beers. Courses will include different techniques of traditional Lao cooking.” Source: SXSE Food Co. website.
François Minaux is a french musician based in Austin, TX. He specialized in composing and performing experimental, avant-guarde and free-improvisation music. For the last 7 years, he has researched on the U.S. secret bombings in Laos, conducting interviews, collecting stories, setting them to music for live and live-streamed performances and recorded albums. He was born and raised in Paris, FRANCE. After completing his early musical training at the conservatory he left his country to pursue higher education in musical arts in the USA. He currently lives, composes, performs and teaches in Austin, TX.

Artistic mission: François works to produce and help producing music that has the power to build a community striving to bring fairness and equity to the world. François beleives that music is an universal language understood by all and a medium able to indiscriminately touch all humans, animals and living things.

Density512 “is a chamber orchestra and collective who champion contemporary programming. We connect with the people of Austin, TX by producing imaginatively curated experiences, amplifying the voices of groundbreaking and emerging artists, and cultivating interdisciplinary collaborations.” Source: Density512 website.

Density512, through its “member-led project” program is supporting the cost involved with the music production of The Laos Song Cycle. They will cover the artists’ performance fees of 5-7 live musicans, 2 technicians and some equipment rentals.
Jared Chacon, Marketing Manager of 4th Tap Brewery gracefully opens his tap room to host The Laos Song Cycle.

4th Tap Brewery Co-op is a small, worker-owned brewery located in Austin’s ‘58 beer district. The brewery taproom (50+ seat capacity) is designed to bring together their neighborhood community - those who live and work in the vicinity - to share in 4th Tap’s love of beer, food, music, and art. Source: 4th Tap Brewery website.

Photo courtesy of Aundre Larrow

Chantala Kommanivanh is an award-winning Lao American artist, educator and musician. Through painting, his works are a reinterpretation of memories documenting his personal history. Raised with traditional Lao customs at home and active in hip-hop culture outside of home, Kommanivanh’s work investigates cultural hybridity and tensions of identity, as he and his family were refugees from the unfortunate outcomes of the 1964-1975 Secret War in Laos. His collection of paintings derive from personal and found photographs representing pivotal times in his life. Source: Chantala Kommanivanh's website.

excerpt of "Harvest" - Laos Song Cycle - music by François Minaux