The San Diego Padres baseball team designates its Labor Day game as “Vietnamese Culture Day” and will feature Vietnamese pop star Ý Lan to sing the national anthem at the game.
This may be a signal that baseball is trying to make itself become familiar to the Vietnamese community. Of the three top American sports, it is somewhat, well, interesting, that the most American of them all is least watched by the Vietnamese-Americans.
The Padres may be trying to reverse that.
For its game against the Giants (by the way, we’re talking about the MLB champion baseball team from San Francisco, not the football team from New York that Vietnamese are more familiar with) on September 5, the Padres will celebrate Vietnamese culture with a pre-game ao dai fashion show, a Viet band from Orange County, and Y Lan will open the game with the national anthem.
Y Lan comes from a famous Vietnamese artistic family. Her mother Thai Thanh was the top pop diva of her days, with a career that started in the 1940s and lasted all the way to the 1980s in the U.S. Thái Thanh was among a very small number of South Vietnamese singing stars not to resume their singing when the communists took over the country.
Y Lan’s father Le Quynh is a movie star. Many of her uncles, aunts, and cousins are also musical stars – composers, musicians, singers. Top Vietnamese songwriters Phạm Đình Chương is her uncle, and Phạm Duy is her uncle by marriage.
Y Lan herself didn’t have a singing career until her early 30s, and has since shot to the top of the pop singer hierarchy.
The Bolsavik is hoping that after this wonderful news, maybe more Vietnamese-Americans will learn to actually sing the Star-Spangled Banner. (Oh, like you never noticed that any event where they salute the flags, the Vietnamese would sing the old South Vietnamese anthem with gusto and then they would stay mute while a machine plays the American national anthem?)
Following is the press release received from by Y Lan’s husband:
For Immediate Release Media Contact: Ted Nguyen
Aug. 22, 2011 949.371.6141 or email@example.com
Pop diva Y Lan performs on Labor Day at Major League Baseball’s first Vietnamese Cultural Day at Petco Park
SAN DIEGO – Y Lan, the iconic songstress popular with Vietnamese worldwide, will perform on Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 5, before the Padres go on the field with the World Champions San Francisco Giants.
The San Diego Padres organization is recognizing the Vietnamese community in San Diego, among the largest in the U.S., with “Vietnamese Culture Day,” the first such event in Major League Baseball. Pre-game cultural festivities include the iconic and alluring ao dai fashions, musical entertainment by the talented Lily Bee and Le Toan Band from Orange County, Calif., culminating with Y Lan singing the national anthem.
“The youth and culture themes tap into our community pride and will draw both die-hard Padres fans and Y Lan’s legions for a great day in baseball,” said Alexander Nguyen, treasurer of the Vietnamese-American Youth Alliance of San Diego that partnered with the San Diego Padres front office.
Y Lan (pronounced e-lan) has more than 100 musical videos to her credit, including a recent release by the wildly popular Paris By Night series of top hits commemorating a 20-year career. She sings Vietnamese pop, French classics and American standards for Vietnamese and non-Vietnamese fans and audiences.
The mother of six children and a breast cancer survivor, Y Lan started her own charitable organization called Sweet Dreams Foundation to promote women’s health awareness and early detection.
Y Lan’s mother is the legendary diva Thai Thanh and her father, Le Quynh, was Vietnam’s first big star of the silver screen. Two of her uncles are Vietnam’s revered composers and songwriters. Growing up in a musical legacy household, Y Lan was actually discouraged from singing to pursue academic study.
In 1980, Y Lan’s young family left Vietnam as boat people and a year later settled in America. Not until age 32 did she start her singing career when a music producer in Orange County discovered her talent singing at a classmate’s wedding. Y Lan shot to instant stardom with her inimitable renditions of romantic ballads. She has toured four continents to Vietnamese communities of the diaspora.
“It’s going to be a milestone for me as well as a tremendous honor to sing our national anthem,” Y Lan said. “As a refugee adopted into this land, I can’t think of a more thrilling moment than performing The Star-Spangled Banner in front of 35,000 San Diego fans in their family outing to cheer America’s favorite pastime.”
# # #