Teen Karen musician in South Korea sings about hope in new track ‘The Spring of Myanmar’

Naw Martha Htoowah. Photo: KarenTNews
Naw Martha Htoowah. Photo: KarenTNews

Thirteen-year-old South Korea-based Karen singer Naw Martha Htoowah, also known as Wanyiwah or Wah, has released a new song titled “The Spring of Myanmar” containing her hopes for the nation.

Wah shares her feelings as she reflects the current hardships experienced by her Burmese friends.

“Everything will be OK. Let the flowers bloom on three fingers,” she sang.

The heartfelt music video includes numerous emotional images of protesters and civilians who had suffered from the military coup in Myanmar. The song was part of the Grass Whistling Project, which aims to show South Korea’s support for the people of Myanmar.

Wah’s parents fled Myanmar to escape the persecution of ethnic minorities and settled in a refugee camp in Thailand. She was born and raised in Thailand until she was nine years old, when her dad passed away. Her mother then took her three children and moved to South Korea hoping for a chance at a better life, and especially for Wah to realize her dream as a singer and songwriter. 

Both of Wah’s parents are ethnic minority Karen people. As a result, Wah identifies herself as a member of the Karen tribe rather than as a citizen of Thailand, her place of birth.

In South Korea, Wah’s mother initially struggled to support her three children as a cash-strapped single mother and immigrant. Their fortunes turned when Wah’s talents were recognized.

Wah ascended in popularity after making a mark on KBS’s hit talent show National Trot Competition, which premiered on Dec. 5 last year.

In May 2021, Wah scored a hit with “I Want a Little House,” which garnered many views on YouTube and rave reviews from her fans in Myanmar and among K-pop stans as well.

Wah is also the face of the “End Sexual Violence, Stop Rapist Army” campaign, which was launched to spread awareness about years of sexual violence commited by the military and bring those responsible to justice.

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