Laos was my Southeast Asia savior. I am sure I will delve more into that story at a later point, but I’ll just say that traveling through the country of Vietnam was rough and I’d felt less than welcome there. When I crossed the border into Laos, the immediate mellowness and realness of it was exactly what I’d needed at that point. In the city of Vientiane, with each pleasant interaction, I felt like the country was welcoming me with a gentle, “Sabaideee!”
I was eager to check out Vientiane nightlife scene, so I headed out into town with my guide. We were pretty surprised when we reached the Mekong River’s edge and found a huge festival in progress. Tons of people were out, there were people in costumes riding unicycles, and a band was playing an awesome mix of ska, chanson and punk. When the band finished their set, party music blasted through the loudspeakers.
A song came on and I recognized the percussion beat, and eventually added to that were familiar bass and guitar lines. “No, it can’t be that song, not in Laos,” I thought. But surely enough, as a voice chimed in, I realized it was the song I was thinking it was— Disco Africa, a fairly obscure 70s afrofunk song from Ghana: