Friday, 14 October 2016
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 and the mix of both that would later become a standard). 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 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 sountrack of Monrak Mae Nam Moon on track 2 and 3 (with Waiphot Phetsuphan as guest star answering Phairin) and a song about Saravane on track 4. 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 opportuniy for Phairin Phonphibun to enchant us while jumping from a genre to another...
PHAIRIN PHONPHIBUN ไพรินทร์ พรพิบูลย์
LAM PHLOEN SORN YING ลำเพลินสอนหญิง
03 ลำเลาะทุ่ง (Waiphot Phetsuphan)
|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.
MUSIC AND CULTURE:
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
Today, some very crisp photos of the Laotian musicians who played in 1931 in Paris during the highly questionable colonial exhibition. It features molam and piphat ensembles and various kinds of traditional instruments.
Sing / saw-u / klong phinphat
Khong wong / lanat
mo khaen and mo lam
The audio recordings of those performances are available at the French national library (BNF)
Among all the communities living in Laos and Esan, the Phu Tai group have a particular cultural influence, especially for molam fans. Originaly, the Phu Tai people came from the actual North Vietnam where the first historical traces of the khaen were found on a 2200 years old bronze gong drum. They later relocated to Laos and Esan (a Phu Tai comunity can even be found in the U.S.A). Nowadays, numerous famous molam musicians and singers have Phu Tai origins: Num Phutai, Monruedi Promchak or more recently Wirapong and his molam troupe: "Silapin Phu Tai".
A Phu Tai village on the hills in Laos / during a buddhist ceremony
Kra top dance and molam during celebrations.
Women pounding rice / people praying with a mo kaen during rice harvest ceremonies
Phu Tai dances
Monday, 3 October 2016
|Musicians and dancers a few minutes before the show.|
Today, some photos of the royal dance troupe of Luang Prabang performing traditional dances and masked khon: Phra Lak Phra Ram (the Laotian version of the Ramayana).
On this last picture, the Boosra Mahin Siamse troupe in Berlin (1900). Surprisingly, the picture features 2 mo khaen who also perfomed in Berlin. Those musicians are the first Thai musician who ever been recorded. Sadly, none of the recordings available online feature khaen.
Sunday, 2 October 2016
Today, some photos of some of the most important events celebrated in Esan and Laos. Of course, most of those festivities are related to buddhism.
BUN BANG FAI
Villagers dancing during the parade.
Bun bang fai parades in Laos (left) and Esan (right)
Procession in Esan during Songkran (Buddhist new year) festivities.
during new year festivities.
Sculpted candles and procession during the Khao Pansa celebrations (here in Ubon Ratchatani)
PHI TA KHON
CORONATION OF THE KING OF LUANG PRABANG
King Sisavang Vong coronation day.
Celebrations during the coronation of His Majesty The King Sisavang Vong (1904)