Lao American DJ Diana Ratsamee, who hosts the radio show Eastern Echoes live on KEXP 90.3 FM at 7:00 – 10:00 p.m PST • Photo by John Pai

The premise of Eastern Echoes with Diana Ratsamee, the new music program at KEXP, sounds simple: a three-hour weekly journey through the vast realm of music from Asia and the Asian diaspora.

As a conduit for a multicultural community, it’s more than a show, creating an impact that runs deep with global reverberations. Long overdue and largely ignored, particularly in the vernacular of the Western world of music, the Asian diaspora is all around us, ever-present in our overseas communities.

The elements and beauty of Asian culture is a collage that infuses each and every individual of Asian descent on a daily level in everything we do, whether it’s work, relaxation, social interactions, or community. How we are perceived, how we are received, how we are engaged, how we communicate, how we carry ourselves, how we are stereotyped — it is all uniquely us.

Kudos to the program developers at KEXP for identifying the need and creating a program dedicated to this platform of representation and celebration. Kudos also to the selection committee for discovering the perfect host and guide to map out the sonic experience.

Diana Ratsamee navigates the richness of Asian diaspora music, lifting up creators and their diverse approaches to storytelling. A Lao American musician and DJ who has walked the path of self-discovery abroad and at home, Ratsamee is an activist who fights to preserve and enliven her community. She has utilized her skills as a marketing and events specialist to bring people together and found inspiration in music from her father, a musician in Laotian and American rock bands.

The intersecting planes of the diverse multi-Asian diaspora of Seattle is what she calls home.

Her passion for the arts started early, as a child growing up between the Chinatown International District (CID) and South Seattle. Her musical inspiration comes from her father, a Lao refugee who fled his home country of Laos to Seattle with dreams of becoming a musician.

Ratsamee also performed in a Laotian Traditional Dance Group and in high school as a member in the famed Seattle Chinese Community Drill team. Diana has been heavily involved with the Seattle underground dance scene and has worked as a producer for the CID Block Party, artist at the Wing Luke Museum, and organizer for the Lao Women Association of Washington State.

To curate Eastern Echoes, Ratsamee draws on her own musical interest and research in Southeast Asian psychedelic rock, including 15 years of archival music from her father’s work in Laos and Thailand that spans the borders of American country, rock, and metal.

Community support is critical to her programming as the show is also a platform for local Asian American artists, and an active space that pulls in musical material and influences from around the world. Future programming will include music from a multitude of scenes and subcultures, as well as interviews that ignite connection between and among the diaspora.

‘Eastern Echoes with Diana Ratsamee’ airs live on KEXP 90.3 FM at 7:00 – 10:00 p.m PST and is available as a live stream and archived program at KEXP.ORG. Ratsamee can be reached at: https://instagram.com/sabaidi.ana and https://www.facebook.com/dianaratsamee

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