Interview with Aline Mukiza, Burlington, Vermont

Aline Mukiza is a dancer, musician, and community organizer based in Burlington, Vermont. Mukiza was born in Burundi and moved to Vermont in the state’s refugee resettlement program. She is a master artist of Burundian women’s dance and traditional song in the Vermont Folklife Center’s Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program. Mukiza is the director of Twibukanye, where she teaches Burundian music and dance to young adult women and girls in Chittenden County. She has worked with the Vermont Folklife Center to develop and expand pedagogies and materials for cultural education in her community. Additionally, Mukiza has worked as a multilingual liaison for the Burlington School District and a family service coordinator at the Vermont Family Network. She has also served as coordinator of the Heritage Learning Program, a project of the Burundian American Association of Vermont, which provides language, science, and culture classes to children.
Interviewed by Tamar Sella, 10/14/20.

Interview with Gopal Niroula, Burlington, Vermont

Gopal Niroula is a multi-instrumentalist and singer based in Burlington, Vermont. Born in Bhutan, Niroula was raised in a refugee camp in Nepal before resettling in Burlington. Niroula plays traditional Nepali music, along with other Nepali music genres. He is a multi-instrumentalist and singer, with a specialty in flute, and a particular expertise in the nose flute. In Vermont, he plays with his brother, tabla musician Puru Niroula. Alongside other members, they play in 3rd STEPS, a group they co-founded which gathers bi-weekly for two hours to sing bhajan, or Hindu devotional songs, in Nepali. The name 3rd STEPS refers to the members’ links to three countries: Bhutan where they were born, Nepal where Bhutanese nationals of ethnic Nepali descent fled after stripped of their Bhutanese citizenships in the 1990s, and the U.S. During COVID-19, Niroula produced and performed in a weekly livestream show that attracted many well-known musicians from Nepal, including a winner of the Nepali Idol contest.
Interviewed by Tamar Sella, 09/16/2020.

Interview with Va-et-vient, Addison County, Vermont

Vermont’s Addison County group Va-et-vient (“Come and Go”) celebrates the many colors found in music from several French cultures. They play repertoires from across different centuries ranging from France to Québec and New Orleans. They perform dance numbers, love songs, Cajun and Créole tunes, and traditional Québecois tunes. From their neighbors to the north, they bring back traditional tunes learned from Québecois elders, reweave them into their own arrangements, and have been spreading them throughout New England and Québec since 2001. The group includes Carol Reed from Leicester (voice, guitar, & mandolin), Suzanne Germain from Lincoln (voice and percussion), and Lausanne Allen from South Starksboro (voice, fiddles, flute, penny whistles, harmonica, & mandolins). All three have backgrounds rich in French cultures and language, and lifelong experiences living and traveling in French-speaking lands.
Interviewed by Tamar Sella, 10/01/2020.