New Moon Band to appear at Tai Dam New Year

Thursday, February 28, 2002

The New Moon Band from Des Moines is the feature attraction for the Saturday night community event being sponsored by the Tai Dam Traditional New Year Committee.

Jimmi VanLuong is the leader of the band, which has been together for more than 10 years.

Last week they played at one of the two big Tai Dam New Year celebrations in the Des Moines area. VanLuong said there were 600 people at the dinner and dance at the Iowa Tourism Building at the State Fairgrounds, where the band played. Another celebration, not quite as big, filled the Assembly Hall in Pleasant Hill.

VanLuong said the band plays contemporary Tai Dam, Lao and American music.

A new CD, just released in January, is titled "Heaven, My Homeland," as translated to English from the Tai Dam language, and that's the name of the lead song on it. The lyrics of that song were written by Keo Pithoun, of West Liberty, who is Tai Dam, and the New Moon Band put the music together for it. "It talks about our homeland, and how it is there," VanLuong said. "I think the title says it all."

He said that in the contemporary Tai Dam and Lao music, the band plays what are known as "Lum" and "Cha-Cha" songs. Their American music includes "a lot of good dancing music, from things by the Eagles like 'Love Will Keep Us Alive' to New Wave music that's good to dance to."

They play with two keyboards, a bass, rhythm guitar and drums, with four or five vocalists.

The celebration, which starts at 5 p.m. Saturday and continues until midnight, will be held at the Knights of Columbus Hall. It is free and open to the public with the entire community invited - a gift from the local Tai Dam people.