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Promised Land

by Minnasia

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Overture 01:20
Sister 05:09
Sister With all of my heart And all of my soul And all that I have I cling to you with all might With all that I am And all that I own I give myself away To have you last with me tonight Hold me, don’t go Please hold me, don’t let go You are the sun that never sets With you, I face any foe So don’t let me go Cold nights, they will end If we hold our hands My love, be brave, when you are weak Let’s entwine like a knot of strands They will not stand any chance Against the strongest of our bonds We’ll dance like humming birds From flower to flower, tree to tree No, don’t let me go You’re the sun that never sets With you I’d face any foe Don’t look away from me Will you please don’t let me go Note: In Hmong, "sister" is a term used to convey romantic affection to a woman in a similar manner to English speakers using words like "honey," or "sugar."
Sun 04:30
Knew all along this day would come Shadows of our past would shatter our way With a little brush and heavy blades Our defending walls would be torn away With all our might lully lully lu We sing this song to heaven Praying for our love to last the night Crying for a way to a light Knew all along this day would come When our precious dew would dry in the sun O glimmer of hope don’t leave us behind End the famine, end our need to run With all our might lully lully lu We sing this song to heaven Praying for our love to last the night Cyring for a way to a light
River 05:26
Father, did you see my boat on the river? Did you ever think I’d come this far? When you think of me as a man Do you see me crawl or shine bright like a star? Mother did you see me dive in the river? Did you ever think I’d be as brave? When you think of me as a man Do you see me fall or flow free like a wave? Ah… Sister, don’t you cry when we part our ways Did you ever think you’d hold you own? Reach out to the woman within Toss aside pale skin, find a strength of a stone, of a stone Ah… Take my soul into your heart You and I will reach the sea No more restraint, and no more strife You and I will be free Ah…
Oh do not despair Embrace a life unfair The other side awaits Soon we’ll pass the last of gates Flower fields rejoice Even as the roots are soiled The songs of our past ought carry forever The path our forebearers toiled Oh do not despair Take in the morning air Sink your feet in the cold dew Mark the step, embrace the life anew Dearest father, dry your eyes Mother, break this thread of shame Though we may part the sea Our colors are ne’er the same Oh do not despair Take in the sights so fair My heart will always long for home How ever far we may roam Sons and daughters, stand tall Don’t surrender or fall Sing a song to cease this war Our spirits soar evermore Oh do not despair Embrace a life unfair The other side still awaits Soon we’ll pass the very last of gates Oh do not despair Embrace this life unfair My heart longs for home Where all strifes end No more regrets to send We’ll let our blood take a stand Promised Land, O Promised Land I see you at last If I ever had a dream I pray this love to last
Finale 01:59


Note: the song "Promised Land" is available for free download.

Promised Land is a one-man mini-musical originally written by Minnasia vocalist Bob Yang in his native Hmong language. It is a story of a Hmong family's exodus from southeast Asia during the Vietnam War. There are four scenes in the musical, each scene comprised of a monologue and a song, describing a situation that one of the family members encounter in their journey.

Bob received a grant from the state of Minnesota to put together a recording and a public performance. He asked Ari to arrange and produce the recording -- and Ari ended up writing the English lyrics to the songs as well, resulting in it becoming a Minnasia project.

The English lyrics are not direct translation of the Hmong versions. Rather, they were meant to simply convey the spirit of the original songs, so that they can be appreciated on their own without knowing the details of the story.

Because of the nature of this project, this recording features classical and Asian influences prominently. The all-acoustic band features a cello and a flute in addition to the rhythm section, backing Bob's lone voice.

Included in the album purchase are four songs in original Hmong, so you can enjoy the songs as they were originally intended to be, in addition to the English versions.


released December 23, 2013

Written originally in Hmong by Bob Yang
English lyrics: Ari Koinuma
Overture & Finale written by Ari Koinuma

Produced, arranged & mixed by Ari Koinuma
Mastered by Greg Reierson @ Rare Form Mastering

Band recording engineered by Eric Blomquist @ Waterbury Studios, Minneapolis, MN
Vocal & guitar engineered by Ari Koinuma

Bob Yang: vocal
Tetsuya Takeno: drums & percussion
Aaron Fabrini: bass
Daniel Zamzow: cello
Melissa Stoudt: flute
Ari Koinuma: acoustic guitar

Cover photo by Judd Sather @ Studio J Photo, Stillwater, MN

Bob Yang is a fiscal year 2012 recipient of an Artist Initiative grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. This project is funded, in part, by the Minnesota State Legislature from the state's arts and cultural heritage fund with money from the vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008.


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Minnasia Saint Paul, Minnesota

We are exploratory songsmiths in search of healing catharses.

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