December 8, 2022

Charlie Kaijo
New America Media

Two students of Teng Her play what they’ve practiced. Each student will take a seat around Her and wait for their turn to demonstrate mastery of a song. Students learn the instrument entirely by ear and observation without sheet music. (Photo by Charlie Kaijo)
Two students of Teng Her play what they’ve practiced. Each student will take a seat around Her and wait for their turn to demonstrate mastery of a song. Students learn the instrument entirely by ear and observation without sheet music. (Photo by Charlie Kaijo)

FRESNO, Calif. (Aug 2, 2016) — A melancholy hum floats above the yard of Teng Her’s single story home in Fresno. The sound conjures images of the Hmong homeland in the verdant mountains of Laos, a long way from the dry expanse of the Central Valley.

But twice a week young Hmong visit Teng to learn the art of the qeej (pronounced “kheng”), a long flute-like instrument played as part of traditional Hmong funerary rites.

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