Jan 4, 2022
Community Producer Rochelle Kwan (a.k.a. YiuYiu in her DJ life) gathers the DJs who joined her in curating our first annual mixtape — to chat about how we can use music to reconnect our diaspora communities, across generations and borders.
If you haven’t heard the mixtape — which features musical selections by Les Talusan (a.k.a. Les The DJ of OPM Sundays), Arshia Fatima Haq (of Discostan), Roger Bong (of Aloha Got Soul), and YiuYiu (of Manhattan Chinatown) — then you can hear it here, or wherever you get podcasts.
Need more music? Did we miss a favorite track of yours that the world absolutely needs to hear? Then check out our public Spotify playlist (a totally separate, community-sourced playlist that we’re pairing with this mixtape) to hear a bigger range of tunes from Asian and Pacific diaspora cultures — and add your own favorites!
Les Talusan a.k.a. Les The DJ (she/they)
Les The DJ aka Les Talusan is a DJ, photographer, curator, teaching artist and organizer whose practice immerses people in the joy of discovery, empowerment, and community. This approach is informed by Les’ own story of resilience, liberation and courage as an immigrant, mother and v/s.
Born and raised in Manila, Philippines, Les fell in love with music at a young age, DJing at local clubs and playing in bands. Les has lived in Washington, DC for over 20 years and continues to expand their talents, performing behind the decks in the U.S. and abroad.
Arshia Fatima Haq - @discostan | @arshiaxfatima
Arshia Fatima Haq (born in Hyderabad, India) works through film, visual art, performance, and sound, in feminist modes outside of the Western model. She is interested in counterachives and speculative narratives, and is currently exploring themes of embodiment, mysticism, indigenous and localized knowledge within the context of Sufism.
She is the founder of Discostan, a collaborative decolonial project and record label working with cultural production from South and West Asia and North Africa. She hosts and produces radio shows on Dublab and NTS, and has produced episodes for KCRW's acclaimed "Lost Notes" podcast series. Her work has been presented nationally and internationally at museums, galleries, nightclubs, and in the streets.
Roger Bong (he/him) - @alohagotsoul | @rogerbong
Roger Bong launched Aloha Got Soul as a blog in 2010 after graduating college with a journalism degree and — more importantly — after hearing DJ Muro's Hawaiian Breaks mix. Roger's love for story, sound and design has turned the blog into an independent record label that champions all genres and generations of music from Hawai‘i. He and his wife run the label from Honolulu.
Rochelle Kwan a.k.a. YiuYiu (she/her) - @rochellehkwan
Rochelle Kwan, also known as YiuYiu, is a cultural organizer, oral history educator, and DJ based on Lenape land in NYC’s Manhattan Chinatown. Bringing together her backgrounds in organizing, history, and music, she trains everyday people to build multigenerational oral history projects and engage with their communities as classrooms. As a cultural archivist, DJ, and dancer, she works to amplify arts and culture as essential to community resilience and foster intergenerational relationships and dance floors.
Rochelle’s also the Community Producer at Self Evident, where she leads our budding oral history program and helps to grow our listening party program through partnership and collaboration.