Hmong music is neat, but most Americans don’t understand the music. Most Hmong kids and children are keeping their music culture. Boys play the qeej since the age of eight or nine. Girls help parents make the instruments. It’s cool making instruments then saying, hey I just learned something. I think most Hmong have kept their music. Children at school listen to other kinds of music. I think they still like their Hmong music. So I’ve got to say something about Hmong adult kids and that is most children in the school are trying to keep their culture but, they also have other favorite foods, games, music, crafts, and you’re going to have to work with those changes. But some aren’t.
The music has changed in the sense that not many still know how to play the instruments, and also there are not many occasions where they sing.
An excellent example of someone who really works at keeping traditions is Thai Vang (Tye Vah), a young shaman, a qeej player, a son in a family, and a schoolboy. We call him “young” because most shamans are 60, or around there, while Thai is only sixteen!
I know that another good example is Dang Yang (Dah Yah), a Hmong instrument maker here in America. One of the most special instruments he has is a certain Hmong violin, with a beautiful dragon’s head carved out at the top. The colors seem to glow, with extensive beauty, describing all the features and values of the instrument.