For the first time, a Hmong story heads for the opera

When someone mentions opera, what comes to mind? Verdi, Puccini, maybe Mozart? Probably not Kao Kalia Yang. The St. Paul writer never set out to get into opera. In 2016 she wrote her book, “The Song Poet: A Memoir of My Father.” On March 9, that story will have its debut at the Minnesota Opera. […]

Minnesota Opera opens ‘The Song Poet’ by local author Kao Kalia Yang

ST. PAUL, Minn. (FOX 9) – The confined walls of St. Paul’s historic East Side Freedom Library still create an expansive world of words and stories. One of those stories comes from a respected Hmong author whose father used to bring her and her sister to this library every week to bring home a bag of new books.  […]

The Song Poet: Top 50 best autobiographies – Esquire Magazine

To my surprised delight, The Song Poet has been selected by Esquire Magazine as one of the top 50 best autobiographies of all time. You can see the full list here; we’re ranked at 16th:

The Song Poet Opera: Workshop

The Song Poet Opera tickets were all sold out six months before the opening dates. This is the first time this has happened in MN Opera history. I am excited and apprehensive at once–so many people will get to hear my debut as a librettist. FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO WERE UNABLE TO GET TICKETS, […]

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Bee Yang

Hmong song poetry | kwv txhiaj hmoob

Thaum Hluas Txog Hnub Laus: When the Days of Youth are Gone (Bee Yang, 2014)

This is an album of Hmong song poetry, kwv txhiaj hmoob, composed and sung by Bee Yang, Kao Kalia Yang’s father. The album notes and English translation of one of the songs are by Kao Kalia Yang.

Kwv txhiaj is, in the words of Ralph Ellison on the American Blues, “an impulse to keep the painful details and episodes of a brutal experience alive in one’s aching consciousness, to finger its jagged grain, and to transcend it, not by the consolation of philosophy but by squeezing from it a near-tragic, near-cosmic lyricism. As a form, the blues [and kwv txhiaj] is an autobiographical chronicle of personal catastrophe expressed lyrically.”

NOTE:  The duration of the songs do not reflect the actual song length.  Please consider ordering the CD for the full songs.  Thank you.

*This CD is available for purchase for $15.  Click below to order:


Bee Yang: Hmong Song Poetry