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Self Evident: Asian America's Stories

Dec 21, 2021

Community Producer Rochelle Kwan (a.k.a. YiuYiu) invites three of her favorite DJs to curate our first annual mixtape — and chat with them about how we can use music to reconnect our diaspora communities, across generations and borders.

Our first annual international, transnational mixtape features musical selections from YiuYiu (of NYC Manhattan Chinatown), Les Talusan (a.k.a. Les The DJ of OPM Sundays), Arshia Fatima Haq (of Discostan), and Roger Bong (of Aloha Got Soul).

The 22 specially curated tracks on this episode span the South West Asian / North African (SWANA) region, Hawai’i, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and their global diasporas. Just as each song and record comes with its own stories, this mixtape weaves in the personal stories that brought Roger, Les, Arshia, and Rochelle to music and DJing today.

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!

Resources, Reading, and Music

About the DJs

Les Talusan a.k.a. Les The DJ

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 - @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) - @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.


  • Produced by Rochelle Kwan and Julia Shu
  • Music curated by Les The DJ (a.k.a. Les Talusan), Arshia Fatima Haq, Roger Bong, and YiuYiu (a.k.a. Rochelle Kwan)
  • Edited by James Boo, with help from Sheena Tan
  • Sound mix by Timothy Lou Ly
  • Self Evident theme music by Dorian Love
  • Our Executive Producer is Ken Ikeda


Self Evident is a Studio To Be production. Our show is made with support from PRX and the Google Podcasts creator program — and our listener community.