FEATURE: American gospel artists enthral Lao audience

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - Well-known American gospel artist Oscar Williams and members of his group - The Band of Life – spoke excitedly about their first visit to Laos and the cultural exchange with its people.

Oscar Williams and The Band of Life, which comprises five women members, visited Laos from September 12-16, talked about their culture and unique music style to the local people.

They shared their culture through gospel music at the National School of Performing Arts of Laos and also met religious leaders and other officials.

They told local media about their experience of visiting Laos and described it as a beautiful country. They particularly loved meeting the people and exchanging ideas with them.

Oscar Williams and The Band of Life are also American cultural and musical ambassadors. They were invited by the US Embassy to Laos to stage their gospel music at an American concert and cultural festival titled “America Fest”. This was hosted by the US Embassy to Laos at the National Culture Hall in Vientiane on September 14.

There, Oscar Williams and The Band of Life performed alongside well-known Lao artists Aluna and Ola Blackeyes and the dance group, EL-A-OH from Fanglao.

Oscar Williams and The Band of Life’s concert included gospel songs as well as the popular Lao folk standard “Yensabaixaona” with students from the National School of Performing Arts as the audience also joined in.

The inclusive concert comprised folks from all walks of life, including a group of specially-challenged people who took part and enjoyed watching the performances.

The audience, including students from the National School of Performing Arts and the hearing-impaired, enjoyed the spectacular performances and were eager to meet the artists. The excitement in the air got to the audience as they sang along with the artists – clapping and dancing. 

Oscar Williams and The Band of Life also took time out to enjoy other activities in the capital.

On September 13, they visited the National School of Performing Arts of Laos and practised the popular Lao folk song “Yensabaixaona” with students there as part of cultural exchange in preparation for the next day’s concert.

On September 15, they were warmly welcomed by the administrative board of Lao Buddhist Fellowship Organisation at Vat Thatfoun in Vientiane for a discussion and cultural exchange.

Mr Oscar Williams said, “My band and I are happy to come to Laos and have a cultural exchange with its people.”

“This is our first visit and concert tour in Laos. The Band of Life members are happy to present our unique music to the people here.”

“I hope this activity will be the beginning of more cultural exchanges between the people of the two countries.”

“This is our first time in Laos, and it was an amazing experience for us. The people are beautiful; the country is beautiful. The people are generous and warm. We are pleased to have performed on stage with some popular Lao artists. Of course, we would like to come back again in the future,” he added.