With three generations under one roof, Lao and English merge to form a third language

Catzie Vilayphonh (Image courtesy of First Person Arts)

Catzie Vilayphonh (Image courtesy of First Person Arts)

Catzie Vilayphonh is a Philadelphia-based spoken word artist who focuses on the preservation of Lao culture and history among area refugees.

In June, at First Person Arts‘s Translation Slam, their first-ever multi-lingual storytelling event,  she told the tale of her household, with three generations and three languages under one roof. English and Lao, of course. But three?

“I’ve accepted that this ‘Laolish’ is my mother and my 6-year-old daughter talk to each other,” she explained.

First Person Arts is Philadelphia’s premiere storytelling organization and the presenters of twice-monthly StorySlams, the weekly First Person Arts Podcast, and the annual First Person Arts Festival. Founded in 2000, FPA believes that everyone has a story to tell, and that sharing our stories connects us with each other and the world. From such artistic luminaries as novelist Toni Morrison, activist Angela Davis, and celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson, to emerging artists and everyday people, FPA presents a diverse array of storytellers to transform the drama of real life into memoir and documentary art.


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