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Directions in Sound: THAO

FREE, please RSVP in the ticket link.

Directions in Sound, CAAMFest’s annual live music installation is back in collaboration with Yerba Buena Gardens Festival. Join us for another FREE al-fresco music experience for all ages to enjoy. See you there!

Thảo Nguyễn (better known simply as “Thao”),  originally from Northern Virginia and now San Francisco’s own, is a veteran artist, songwriter, touring musician, and producer. With an extensive and vibrant career in music, Thao has released music via legendary labels Kill Rock Stars, Domino Record Co., and Ribbon Music. A guitarist and songwriter, she has been featured by The New York Times, NPR, Austin City Limits, Pitchfork, Washington Post, and many more. Featured in NPR’s Tiny Desk (Home) Concert in 2020, Thao’s genre-bending sound has flavor notes of country, folk, blues and pop yet made unique by her own style and lived experience.

I lost my city in the light of day
Thick smoke, helicopter blades
Heaven and earth have never moved so fast
You’ll never know the fear your mama has
I know your father can’t call anymore
He never meant to be a man of war
But we found freedom what will you do now

– Lyrics to TEMPLE, Thao & The Get Down Stay Down  (2020)

In 2017, Thao was featured in a CAAM-funded film on PBS, NOBODY DIES. The film follows the singer-songwriter during her first trip to Vietnam as the daughter of refugees who fled during its civil war. In another project with PBS, Thao will host a new series spotlighting artists who are redefining the notion of Southern-ness.

Opening Act: NIKBO

Nikbo (she/they) is a shapeshifting, spell-breaking Third Culture artist and songwriter. Born in Morocco, and raised in Malawi, Canada, and Kazakhstan before settling in the Bay Area, Nikbo weaves sounds and stories from the diaspora to create music from the in-between. Her songs and writing have been featured by KQED, Smithsonian Magazine, The San Francisco Chronicle, and Hella Pinay. She is currently collaborating with her family and ancestors on a new project about grief, dreaming, and healing. You can find ways to connect and support at

Thao Photo by Shervin Lainez.
Nikbo Photo by Max Velasco Knott.
DIS photo by Barak Shrama.

Dates & Times


Yerba Buena Gardens

Sat, May 18
1:00 pm