July 28, 20205:00 AM ET
The Tiny Desk is working from home for the foreseeable future. Introducing NPR Music’s Tiny Desk (home) concerts, bringing you performances from across the country and the world. It’s the same spirit — stripped-down sets, an intimate setting — just a different space.
For her Tiny Desk (home) concert, Thao Nguyen opens with a somber version of “Temple,” the dance-oriented title track from Thao & The Get Down Stay Down‘s new album. The song is an homage to her parents, who were refugees of the Vietnam War. Thao sings from the perspective of her mother, honoring their hard-fought freedom and their hopes that their daughter is blessed with the ability to pursue her own happiness. She recorded it as a trio with cellists (and neighbors) Elisabeth Reed and Andy Luchansky. It’s a powerful rendition that celebrates, in Thao’s words, “being queer and being out in my career, something that being out publicly has caused a lot of turmoil and unrest in my own life.” Please give a listen to what she has to say in this remarkable video. We also hear “Pure Cinema” from Temple and a mandolin version of “Departure” from her 2016 album, A Man Alive.
- “Pure Cinema”
Thao Nguyen: vocals, guitar, mandolin; Elisabeth Reed: cello; Andy Luchansky: cello
Video by: Molly Skonieczny; Audio by: Thao Nguyen; Producer: Bob Boilen; Audio Mastering Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Video Producer: Maia Stern; Associate Producer: Bobby Carter; Executive Producer: Lauren Onkey; Senior VP, Programming: Anya Grundmann
Intimate video performances, recorded live at the desk of All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen