Featuring Community Artists Representing
Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Burma (Myanmar), and Mariana Islands (Guam, Saipan, Tinian & Rota)
The final event of Music on the Move presents performers from five communities based in San Diego that use music and dance to preserve their cultural heritage. The program includes a musical ensemble directed by Prof. Supeena Adler representing the Thai-Lao and Cambodian communities of San Diego and featuring traditional instruments and dance. The Karen Organization of San Diego will present the traditional dance of the Karen people of Burma (Myanmar). And the Chamorro community, the indigenous people of the Mariana Islands, will be represented by community members and live performances by the Island Mist and Imahen Taotao Tano Dancers.
Thailand, Laos, & Cambodia
Community Coordinator Supeena Insee Adler is a trained ethnomusicologist and an accomplished Thai musician. Raised in Northeast Thailand, near the Laos and Cambodian borders, she is fluent in Lao and Thai. She is currently an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Ethnomusicology at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, where–in addition to directing the Music of Thailand Ensemble–she serves as their world music instrument curator. Professor Adler has curated Thai music and dance events in Southern California with artists from North America and Thailand and performed in venues across the U.S.
She holds a Ph.D. in music (ethnomusicology) and an M.A. in Southeast Asian studies from UC Riverside. She earned her B.F.A. in Thai classical music from Mahasarakham University, Thailand. For nearly two decades, she has volunteered to teach traditional Thai music at the Thai Buddhist Temple of San Diego, where she performs regularly.
Karen Organization of San Diego (KOSD) is committed to the educational and social enhancement of various ethnic minority groups from Burma who reside in San Diego, California.
Burma (known today as Myanmar) is one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the world, including eight main ethnic groups and more than 130 distinctive subgroups. However, today about half a million refugees are forced to live in neighboring and nearby countries such as Thailand, Bangladesh, India, and Malaysia. Some have been in the refugee camps for more than 30 years.
The United States has resettled more than 12,000 refugees from Burma, including Karen, Karenni, Chin, Kachin, Shan, Mon, and Burmese peoples. The number of refugees from Burma has dramatically increased since 2007. In 2010, out of 73,000 total refugees admitted to the U.S., about 22% were refugees from Burma. Accordingly, the number of those who resettled in San Diego has also kept increasing; to date, more than 2,100 refugees from Burma have resettled in San Diego.
Mariana Islands (Guam, Saipan, Tinian & Rota)
Imåhen Taotao Tåno’, which means Images of the People of the Land, has a mission to preserve and perpetuate the CHamoru culture through various community services and events. It was established in 1999 by Tribal Council Member Rosemary Mantanoña, who the Guam Legislature recognizes as a Fafa’nå’gue or Certified CHamoru Cultural Practitioner.
In 2022, Imåhen Taotao Tåno’ became a guma’ (cultural home) under Pa’a Taotao Tåno’, an honor bestowed on 14 recognized Certified CHamoru Cultural Practitioners in the Marianas, Japan, and the United States by First Master of CHamoru Dance, Saina Frank Rabon. Guma’ Imåhen Taotao Tåno’ strives to be a nurturing home for its members to acquire lifelong skills while learning the CHamoru culture to carry on for future generations.
Imåhen Taotao Tåno’ members receive training in CHamoru singing, chanting, dancing, and weaving skills. They also gain knowledge of their history and language, an understanding of the values of inafa’maolek, and a sense of reciprocity and respect for the continuing legacy of the land’s indigenous people. By sharing a glimpse of their rich history and vibrant culture through songs, dance, and chants, audiences awaken to a time of their creation and continued existence.
Community Coordinator Roseann Janice (Waller) Bouffiou is of the Lujan (Bitoot) family and Flores (Katson) clans. Now residing in San Diego, she was born and raised in Guam. Her parents, Rosa Flores Lujan Waller and Albert W. Waller played a founding role in establishing the territory’s tourism industry. Janice’s grandfather, Mariano LG Lujan, was a Chamorro blacksmith who passed on the culturally important practice of blacksmithing to generations of his family. In 1974 Janice won the title of Miss Guam International. She considers herself a lifetime ambassador for the Chamorro culture.
Janice has had careers in the Navy, the airline industry, and real estate. At the same time, she dedicated her time to promoting Chamorro cultural awareness and goodwill through the House of Chamorros, the Chamorro Optimist Club of SD, the Chamorro Hands in Education Links Unity (CHELU), Pacific Islander Festival Association (PIFA), and Sons and Daughters of Guam Club. Janice is the lead singer and guitar player of two island-style acoustic bands, Island Mist (quartet) and a 10-member group called Island Mist & Friends, performing Chamorro, Hawaiian, traditional, nostalgic, and contemporary songs. Her lifelong dedication to her homeland shows her passion and love for her people, culture, and island.
Island Mist members accompanying Janice are Lilly McDonald, Benni Benavente Schwab, and Robert Cabrera.