Friday, 14 October 2016

Sometimes words can't describle the pain my friends and all the people of Thailand feel since the loss of their beloved father.
ไม่มีถ้อยคำใดจะสามารถบรรยายได้อย่างลึกซึ้ง ถึงความโศกเศร้าครั้งใหญ่ที่สุดที่เพื่อนๆ ของผมและปวงชนชาวไทยทั้งหมดรู้สึกต่อการจากไปของพ่อหลวงของพวกเขา

Friday, 7 October 2016


Phairin Phonphibun ไพรินทร์ พรพิบูลย์
Back to Esan! I hope you enjoyed our little ramble in Laos. I could not leave Laos without a tape that sometimes plays with references from both sides of the Mekong... Well all kinds of references in this case...
Surin Phaksiri สนธิ สมมาตร
The tape we'll ear today LAM PHLOEN SORN YING puts together some songs released in the late 70's by an amazing duo. On one side, the versatile and talented singer PHAIRIN PHONPHIBUN (and some uncredited guests) on the vocals and on the other side: the very eclectic song writer, radio Dj, producer and record compagny manager Surin Phaksiri who takes care of the songwriting and the production (like on this tape I previously posted).
monrak mae nam moon movie poster
Unlike his name could suggest, mister Surin Phaksiri in fact comes from the province of Ubon Ratchathani (like quite a few other musicians and singers featured here already).  If as a radio Dj Surin started by focucing on traditional molam from both Laos and Esan he also had a huge interest for all kinds of music from both occidental and asian genres. His huge interest for music has played a key role in his work and on the evolution of the Esan sound (on both molam and luk thung). Surin was the first to create a fusion between lam phloen and luk thung and he had a great talent to incorporate foreign influences into his arrangements. His talent to play with styles gave him the opportunity to direct the production of many movies soundtracks including the famous Monrak Luk thung and the chance to write some awesome adaptations of Bollywood songs (as Indian movies played in Thailand in the 70's were fully dubbed in Thai).
Surin Phaksiri and his record collection featuring some records he composed for Angkhanang, Banyen and Phairin
Also from Ubon, Phairin Phonphibun started singing in her early teenage but it's really in the late 70's when she started to work with Surin Phaksiri that she became a superstar. Surin wrote, produced and distributed her songs through his eponynous label and invited her to join the Thitso Lam Phloen band. 3 Years ago Miss Phonphibun sadly lost her long battle against cancer.
Phairin Phonphibun (on the right with Onuma Singsiri)
In LAM PHLOEN SORN YING both Surin Phaksiri and Phairin Phonphibun show the large panel of their talents: Lam phloen, luk thung (including songs brilliantly mixing both genres), references to Laotian culture with some adapted khap thoum from the movie soundtrack of Monrak Mae Nam Moon on track 2 and 3 (with Waiphot Phetsuphan as guest star answering Phairin). The arrangements are really interesting and goes from traditional Esan style to various western set up with full classy bands featuring a large horn section in a pure 60's/70's luk thung style or a smaller set up featuring drums, guitars, farfisa organ... 12 really nice songs and a perfect opportunity for Phairin Phonphibun to enchant us while jumping from a genre to another...
PHAIRIN PHONPHIBUN ไพรินทร์ พรพิบูลย์
LAM PHLOEN SORN YING ลำเพลินสอนหญิง
01 ลำเพลินสอนหญิง
02 ลำกล่อมทุ่ง
03 ลำเลาะทุ่ง (Waiphot Phetsuphan)
04 โชลสาระวัน
05 คอยหาบ่เห็น
06 ลืมง่ายแท้หนอ
07 สาวน้อยลำเพลิน
08 ยัวกับยั๊ว
09 ลำล่องคนึงรัก
10 รักแท้สาวอิสาน
11 ลำเพลินรักชาติไทย
12 ลำเพลินเชิญจองน้อง
Who's next to Phairin Phonphibun? The answer next week...

Thursday, 6 October 2016


As this month we are in Laos, it's a great opportunity to share some early photos from Laos and Esan. More than 230 pictures from my personal archives: Everyday life in villages, people at work, at the temple and markets, and of course parties, festivals and music.
All those pictures are approximatively dated from 1870 to 1940 (and also a few from the 50's for illustrative purposes).Those photos were taken on both sides of the Mekong by local photographers, explorers, missionaries and settlers. Some of those are part of the archives of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France and Musée de l'Homme, publications like the book "danses d'Indochine" and the newspaper "l'Illustration" or from collected colonial postcards by early photographers such as Alfred Raquez and also from anonymous local photographers. Those pictures have been cleaned and restored by myself.
At this time Thailand was still called Siam and Laos was part of the french colonial empire and known under the name "Indochina". Many Lao people already live in Esan (and in Northern Siam) and more and more people from the Phu Tai group continue their migration from the (actual) North Vietnam hills to Central Laos and Esan and will continue to relocate there till the end of the Vietnam war and the end of colonisation.
For those who will be in Bangkok before november 7th, there is an exhibition about early photography called "Unseen Siam" at the Bangkok Art & Culture Centre that features some photos related to music.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016


Pi kaeo
Today, some very crisp photos of the Laotian musicians who played in 1931 in Paris during the highly questionable colonial exhibition. It features molam, mo khaen and piphat ensembles as well as various kinds of traditional instruments.
Sing / saw-u / klong phinphat
Piphat ensemble
Khong wong / lanat
mo khaen and mo lam
khaen ensemble
The audio recordings of those performances are available at the French national library (BNF)