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Immigrants Of The Day: Yanni of Greece, Spruha Magodia of India, and Eileen Chang of China

by Kevin R. Johnson

Yanni (Greece)

Yannibook Yanni (born November 14, 1954 in Kalamata, Greece) is a pianist, keyboardist, and composer. Yanni left his homeland at the age of 18 to attend the University of Minnesota. After receiving a B.A. in psychology, he sought a life in music.

After playing keyboards in local rock bands, Yanni moved to California. In 1987, he put together a small band and began touring to promote his earliest instrumental albums, Keys to Imagination, Out of Silence, and Chameleon Days. He later earned Grammy nominations for his 1992 album, Dare to Dream, and the 1993 follow-up, In My Time.

Yanni's breakthrough success came with the release of Yanni Live at the Acropolis, a concert filmed in 1993 in Athens, Greece. Yanni has since performed live in concert before in excess of two million people in more than 20 countries around the world. His North American concert tours in 1995, 1998 and 2003-5 each finished in the Top 10 concert tours of the year. He has accumulated more than 35 platinum and gold albums globally, with sales totaling over 20 million copies.

Yanni's compositions have been included in all Olympic Games television broadcasts since 1988, and his music has been used extensively in television and televised sporting events. In 1997, he become one of the few performers allowed to perform at the Taj Mahal, India. His most recent live concert film, Yanni Live! The Concert Event, was released in 2006.

Yanni's music is frequently described as "new age", though he prefers the term "contemporary instrumental."

Click here for the official Yanni web page.  Click here for a video clip of Yanni performing.

April 16, 2008 | Permalink

Spruha Magodia (India)

Spruha_magodia SPRUHA MAGODIA became a published novelist when she was 13. Now 16, she is completing the final chapters to her second novel. Her first novel, Entwining Worlds: From the Other Side is sold throughout the U.S. at Barnes & Noble bookstores --where she was named "Author of the Month" when she was 14. This talented writer also won a global competition for writing an alternate ending to the fifth novel in the Harry Potter series.

Earlier this year, Magodia received the Michael Maggio Youth Immigrant Achievement Award in honor of immigration attorney Michael Maggio, whose legal philosophy was founded on justice, the rule of law and human rights.

April 17, 2008 | Permalink

Eileen Chang (China)

Chang_2 Eileen Chang (19201995) was a writer. Her works are considered by some scholars to be among the best Chinese literature of the period.  Chang's work describing life in 1940s Shanghai and occupied Hong Kong is remarkable in its focus on everyday life.

Born in Shanghai, Eileen Chang wrote her debut short novel in 1932. In 1939, Chang received a scholarship to study in the University of London, though the opportunity had to be given up due to the ongoing war in China. She went on to study literature at the University of Hong Kong. Just one semester short of getting her degree, Hong Kong fell to the Empire of Japan on December 25, 1941.

In the spring of 1943, Chang made a fateful trip to meet an editor to give him her writtings. The rest was history: Chang became the hottest writer in Shanghai in 1943-1944. It was during this period when her most acclaimed works, including Qing Cheng Zhi Lian (????) and Jin Suo Ji (???), were penned.

Chang then left for the United States in the fall of 1955, never to return to Mainland China again. Chang became a U.S. citizen in July 1960.

Chang held short-term jobs at Radcliffe College (1967) and UC Berkeley (1969-1972). Chang relocated to Los Angeles in 1972. Three years later, she completed the English translation of The Sing-song Girls of Shanghai. She became increasingly reclusive in her later years.

April 18, 2008 | Permalink

These posts were orginally posted on the ImmigrationProf Blog here, here and here.

About The Author

Kevin R. Johnson is currently Dean, Professor of Law and Chicana/o Studies, and the Mabie-Apallas Public Interest Law Chair holder at the University of California at Davis. He is also one of the editors of ImmigrationProf Blog .

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.