Music: Mondega + For The People

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Mondega is a hip-hop artist whose music is well acclaimed by human- rights activists, universities and Asian youths throughout the United States, Canada and Southeast Asia. As an up-coming and influential emcee, his music is described as uplifting and inspiring. Mondega uses hip-hop as a tool to speak on behalf of the misguided Asian youths living in America and for his people suffering back home in Southeast Asia. His music is well-respected because it empowers and raises awareness about issues rarely spoken about in today’s Asian hip-hop scenes.

Bom “Mondega” Siu was born on October 14, 1987 in the 2nd district of Gia Lai, in the central highlands of Vietnam. As a young boy growing up, he helped his impoverished family by spending his days roaming and hustling the streets. He would gamble the little money he made playing bau cua ca cop, a Vietnamese game with three dices. Being raised through poverty, political corruption and genocide, Mondega lived and experienced what most people took for granted. The idea of becoming a hip-hop artist never existed in his mind, but everything changed when his family fled to the United States as refugees seeking asylum in 1996.

More About Mondega

I dedicate my whole rap career to inspire a dream to the voiceless living with fear. . . - Mondega

While living in a refugee housing community in Raleigh, North Carolina, Mondega, his older brother and two sisters went to school as poor immigrant kids trying to adjust in America. They lived and played in a neighborhood where drugs and crime were normal albeit a small step up from the living conditions in Gia Lai and the Saigon slums. Mondega first experienced music when his older brother formed a Montagnard band called Bajaraka. Making friends was a challenge in Raleigh for Mondega, so he began going to Bajaraka’s weekend practices and became a helper and a guest singer. While attending community events and performing on stage, he noticed how separated the youths were against their own culture and identity. As a young man adapting and learning America’s cultures, he watched his friends joined gangs and sold drugs. Through Bajaraka, he wanted to change that factor, but Montagnard music was not enough to reach out to the crowd he wanted.

Hip-hop first gained his attention when a friend played Tupac, Wu-Tang Clan and DMX’s records on his stereo. At first, it sounded odd to him, but as he became fluent in English, this weird sounding music became the very tool he is using now to reach out to his youths. Life in America have never been a walk in the park for Mondega. Over the years, Mondega have shared the same struggles as his listeners. No matter what is going on, hip-hop is his form of therapy and an escape from a world full of adversities.

Mondega’s overall goal is to reach out to everyone who can relate, and empower them through peace, understanding, philosophies and hip-hop. Mondega speaks the truth in the purest format with creative melodies, catchy hooks, and self-reflecting lyrics.

His forthcoming LP, For the People, is his third and most personal album to date.
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