Stories about arresting music


Mai Khoi

“She's been called the Lady Gaga of Vietnam, but Mai Khoi arguably has less in common with Gaga than the Russian activist group, Pussy Riot.” — ABC News

Mai Khoi is a Vietnamese pop star, singer and musician. She has been playing music since she was 12 when she was the pianist in a wedding band with her father, a music teacher, in the coastal city of Nha Trang. Drawing on a wide variety of influences, from traditional Vietnamese folk to blues, soul and rock, Mai Khoi seamlessly blends disparate styles and rhythms. Her music is also distinct in terms of its emotional range, her wide vocal register as well as the distinct tonal qualities of her voice. 

She speaks out about sexuality, LGBT rights and violence against women. Mai Khoi broke international headlines in 2016 after she became the first Vietnamese celebrity in history to nominate herself for the National Assembly (equivalent to congress) on a pro-democracy platform.

Today she is banned from playing in her own country. She has gained international attention for her music and activism, and in 2018 she received the Václav Havel International Prize for Creative Dissent.



Pål Moddi Knutsen (born 18 February 1987 in Senja) is a Norwegian musician and author. His music has been described as a blend of folk music and pop, although he refers to himself as a singer and storyteller. Moddi is also widely recognised as a political and social activist.

Moddi is famous for his interpretations and translations of other artists, such as Vashti Bunyan, Pussy Riot and the Norwegian poet Helge Stanges.