Saturday, 30 July 2016


Today is a special day, it's the 100th record I share through blogs. I started with, trying to get away a few hours per week from my growing addiction to Esan music by sharing records from all around the world... As you can see, it did not work that well. So today I won't share one but 10 records at once, some antic 78' molam recordings  I was religiously keeping for a special occasion.
Today we'll visit the native province of miss Khampun, Ubon Ratchathani, deep in the south east of Esan. We been visiting the province many times recently as it's historically one of most important place for Esan music (just like Khon Khaen/Udon Thani that we'll soon ear about). If the province of Ubon is well known for it's prehistorical sites, we'll stay focused on some very old molam recordings!
YOT MOLAM NAI ADIT "best molam from the past" seems to be a pretty confidential tape compiling some 78' records (originally pressed by Columbia) from the mid 50's. The guy who gave it to me actually had 2 copies of that tape from some old stocks. He told me I would love it and he was more than right). If this band is not much of a mystery among Esan records collectors it's because KHAMPUN FUNGSUK is one of the first of the kind to produce some  recorded molam (while electricity was still not available everywhere in villages).
Khampun, Sunthorn and their band gained a solid reputation with the help of radio diffusion and seems to have been an important source of inspiration for young molam singers of this era. If Khampun Fungsuk started by recording various kind of traditional molam they then followed the molam evolution but they only switched to lam sing after Sunthorn passed away. As many molam traditionalists, he wasn't really seeing this new form of molam in a positive way (early lam sing was often concidered rude, too fast and far from the original lam values). The band later performed under the stage name of Suntarapirom but I'm not sure if they still exist.

The tape we have today feature over 1 hour of some of their early studio recordings. 20 "crispy" traditionally performed molam (lam long, lam toei...). It's brilliantly executed by different singers and off course, only accompanied by a khaen. It's pure, deep, gorgeous. I have a particular crush for the lam toei duo that open the second side.
I spent quite a few hours cleaning each tracks as it sounded like... well, vintage 78' records but I did not spend too much time trying to figure out what was wrong with the hand typed track list (the last song of each side is not on the list and it's possible that some songs have wrong tittles). Some typos has been corrected by my friend Pueng (thanks) but some mistakes can remain... Only music matters anyway and today I'm happy to share those 20 pieces of Esan music history.
It's interesting to note that some shellac is produced in Esan and was often used in the process of diying silk long time before being used for the production of the 78' records we ear today.

KHAMPUN FUNGSUK คำปุ่น ฟุ้งสุข
YOT MOLAM NAI ADIT ยอดหมอลำในอดีต
01 ลำเกี้ยวบ้านโศรก
02 เต้ยแข่งทำนอง
03 ลำสาดหุ่น
04 ลำสองสัญลักษณ์กึ่งพุทธกาล
05 ลำดาราภูมิศาสตร์
06 ลำเต้ยนิทาน
07 ลำล่องคนึงเมื่อจาก
08 ลำหนองบัวลุ่มภู
09 ลำล่องคู่รักแดนเมือง
11 ลำไทยโขงจงประสบ
12 ลำชมอินเดีย
13 ลำทัศนาจรครบดนตรี
14 ลำเดินดง
15 ลำจันทร์ยอแสง
16 ลำชมไม้นานาชนิด
17 ลำเกิดศึกสองเมือง
18 ลำชมดนตรีแดนอิสาน
19 ลำหวัดตาลประสานรัก

Thanks a lot to the people who took the time to put up this tape!
You can see some 78' thai records sleeves here

Thursday, 28 July 2016


If the usual supports for music tends to slowly disapear in Thailand (replaced by youtube and official downloadable songs and abums) Esan music is available in many formats and some of those can seem a bit exotic for the occidental records collectors. Let's have a look at those...
Phimpha Phonsiri on various supports: tape / CD / VCD / mp3 CD...
TAPES: It's been the most common format available in the 80's and 90's and if the production stopped in the early 2000's (though the most recent tape I have is from 2005) some shops  still have some brand new ones from old stocks. (30 to 60฿ for new tapes)

VINIL: Mostly on the second hand market even though there is a small production of new records (mostly for what is called "indy" but also some non Esan re-editions). (400/800฿ for second hand LPs).
CD: Still the most common format, it's interesting to see the different kinds of CDs available on the market (a logo on the cover usually tells you what it is):

AUDIO CD: Standard (80/150฿ new).

MP3 CD: Great value and very convenient format (usually made from back catalog recordings) those can contain up to 10 records. (from 50 to 200 ฿).

VCD:  Cheaper than DVDs they can even be extremelly cheap (as low as 20 ฿) when they offer old material (such as concerts previously available on VHS). VCDs can contain live performances, video clips and off course the very popular karaoke versions. (from 100 to 200 ฿)

DVD: Not as popular as VCDs.
USB KEY: Pretty new on the market those usually contain compilations or back catalog recordings (lots of vintage stuff). (around 150 to 200฿ for 100 songs).

PORTABLE MP3 PLAYERS: It started with some very cute fancy Chinese buddhist music players before the music industry got into it. Those can contain up to 1000 songs in the built in memory and it's usually possible to add your own content via a usb or flash card. It's curently used for old classics as well as molam and luk thung. Some record compagnies have done a great job on the design. This format is widely promoted right now. (around1000/2000 ฿).
PORTABLE VIDEO TABS: Another new format that seems to mostly target the older karaoke fans.
That's all you can expect to find at most records stores. The next post will feature a format I did not mention here, some really nice music...
some fancy buddhist mp3 players

Saturday, 23 July 2016


ANGKHANANG KHUNCHAI อังคนางค์ คุณไชย
This week was very important for the buddhists community of Thailand with the celebrations of Asalha Puja and Khao Phansa. If the festivities are observed all around the country with prayers, merit making and of course party and concerts, one of biggest celebration happen in Ubon Ratchathani with a street parade featuring some traditional Esan dances and music as well as some wonderful sculptures made of carved wax that are traditional during Khao Phansa.
As  this week we are Ubon, it's a good occasion to listen to one of my favourite local superstar, miss ANGKHANANG KHUNCHAI. If we already enjoyed some of her best lam toei recordings on duo with P.Chalatnoi Songsoem and also live with Phet Phin Thong, today we'll listen to her gorgeous voice on some classy luk thung with ESAN BAAN HAO (Esan our home). If Angkhanang had her first success in the 70's, performing both early modernised molam and luk thung she later focuced on performing all kinds of molam: lam phloen, lam long, lam phu tai... on both traditional and modern forms solo or on duo, most of the time with P.Chalatnoi Songsoem and Rungfah kulachai. She also re-recorded some of her early luk thung success with some pure Esan instrumentals in the 90's and was involved in some surprising projects sometimes too... I should post some of those somedays.
some luk thung and molam tapes
The tape we have today feature 10 luk thung songs (plus 2 instrumental versions) performed in a pretty classic late 70's early 80's style with mostly occidental instruments (guitar, bass, drums, keyboards and a brass section). Enjoy!

ANGKHANANG KHUNCHAI อังคนางค์ คุณไชย
ESAN BAAN HAO อีสานบ้านเฮา
01 อีสานบ้านเฮา
02 บ้านนี้ยังว่าง
03  เถียงนาน้อยคอยอ้าย
04 กลัวรัก
05 พิมพิลาลัย
06 อีสานบ้านเฮา (instrumental)
07 เขาเป็นใคร
08 รักน้องพี่ต้องขอ
09 หนาวแล้วอ้าย
10 หนาวใจ
11 หัวใจอ้ายดำ
12 บ้านนี้ยังว่าง (instrumental)

Tuesday, 19 July 2016


Yenjit Porntawi เย็นจิตร พรเทวี
I'm just back home after a pretty nice concert...
If I planned to share another gorgeous tape from miss YENJIT PORNTAWI, I guess it won't happen before a few weeks as I could not resist to share one of her live performances after the great show I just attended.
We are now in the middle of a buddhist holiday and quite a few temples in Bangok and in Esan have some free concerts and temple fairs and tonight miss Yenjit was singing a few blocks away from my house. The concert happened in a small temple and as usual in that case the audience is mostly local as people come to pray and make a donation to the temple as well as eating some snacks and letting the kids have fun. Tonight, some talented young luk thung singers started the show while some local young girls and teenagers were dancing on stage.
Then Yenjit performed a mix of luk thung and molam (some lam sing and lam ploen) songs with a really fresh voice and a nice smile for about 1 hour, sadly she was backed by some pre-recorded music but she was really happy to be there and it was really fun to watch her perform mostly some of her well known songs including one of her biggest hits: khidthung thung luy lay and her new song Sangfah pai haa phi, her personal take on the Mai Waenthip song I talked about in the last two post. Luckily the rain was kind enough to wait for the end of the show to come...
Well, let's talk a little about the live recording we'll enjoy today. It comes from a VCD (only the sound of course). I was lucky to find this little gem from old stocks in a small record store in Esan (Yenjit was very surprised when she saw it and asked where I found such thing).
Though the cover doesn't come with any informations it's obviously a concert from the mid 90's. Some fast lam sing and a few older songs (both luk thung and molam) backed by a full band (a dozen of musicians). A really nice straightforward recording with no post production as you can usually expect from such Esan recordings... 
We'll sure enjoy more and more music from Yenjit Porntawi in the next few months as I really want to cover all the styles she brilliantly performed during her ongoing career but for now, I go to bed and let you enjoy!

Yenjit Porntawi เย็นจิตร พรเทวี
(By the way, I came back home with a really good self produced DVD recorded a few months ago, I'll post it sooner or later when she will not sell it anymore)

Saturday, 16 July 2016


THEPPHON PHETUBON เทพพร เพชรอุบล
This week we'll follow the last post about Mai Waenthip and the cover of her song that had a huge success recently "the girl from Loei still wait". If it's common in Thai music to have singers answering each others through songs (sometimes taking a counter point of view on the same theme), it tooks about 10 years waiting to ear a lengend of Esan music singing "the one who left his heart runs to Loei"...
Here we are with "the diamond from Ubon Ratchathani", mister Thepphon Phetubon. Born in the Ubon province, a particulary fertile area of Esan... well, not sure about the sticky rice fields but it's quite amazing to see how many sucessfull musicians grew up in that part of Esan (just to name a few: Tonsai Taptanon, Angkhanang Khunchai and more recently, Pai Phongsathorn).
If Thepphon Phetubon started as a successful luk thung and sang with the phet phin thong band, he later had a great career with molam too and also sang buddhist lae with Waiphot Phetsuphan. Thepphon Phetubon died in 2013 leaving behind him a huge collection of recordings of all kinds and numerous collaborations with the finest esan singers of his generation (Banyen Rakkaen, Angkhanang Khunchai, Dao Bandon...). The tape we have today: KHIT HOT is from the late 90's and of course sounds very different to his debuts with some "everlasting" slow luk thung songs and a mature voice...

THEPPHON PHETUBON เทพพร เพชรอุบล 
KHIT HOT คิดฮอด
01 คิดฮอด
02 กลับบ้านเถิคน้อง
03 น้ำตาชาย
04 คอยน้องที่บึงพลาญชาย
05 จุ่มหา
06 ฝากใจไว้เมืองเลย
07 แก้วลืมคอน
08 คอยน้องที่หนองประจัก
09 หนาวเดืหอนห้า

Monday, 11 July 2016


MAI WAENTHIP ใหม่ แว่นทิพย์
Last week, it was festival time in the province of Loei, in the northern hills of Esan, many people from all around gathered to the disctrict of Dansai to pray and party for Phi Ta Khon, a traditional event celebrated on both sides of the mekong where ghosts parade in the streets, showing some amazing folk art creativity. A local even that is not to be missed if you plan a visit to Thailand as it's the biggest of the kind (the pronvince itself is truelly gorgeous and really worth a visit too).
Being in Loei, let's enjoy some local sound from one of my favourite luk thung Esan tape. Recorded in 1989, SAEO PHU BAO is one of the first two tapes released by MAI WAENTHIP, a singer I particuraly like and who had quite a strange career. Two wonderfull tapes featuring some of the most inspired musical composition of Num Phutai mixing perfectly with the sad voice of Mai Waenthip (the second song of this tape "I have headache because of my ex" is to die for) and then, already some kind of a best of featuring 9 songs from each of those tapes. 
Then another record also featuring some of those early songs but with a new recording that by far is not as great as the orignal versions. If Mai Waenthip had some kind of success with "the girl from Loei still wait" it's quite ironic to see that after waiting for more than 25 years this song became a huge success 2 years ago, well sadly for miss Waenthip, it's actually an explosive cover version that got all the fame. Mai Wenthip still sing in a molam troup but they never tour as far as Bangkok and I still did not have a chance to see her on stage yet.

MAI WAENTHIP ใหม่ แว่นทิพย์
SAEO PHU BAO แซวผู้บ่าว
01 แซวผู้บ่าว
02 ปวดหัวเพราะผัวเขา
03 เอกอีสาน
04 สาวนาขาดรัก
05 อุ้มท้องไปกินดอง
06 บ้านนอกหลอกกัน
07 สาวใหม่รำพัน
08 คอยหมอแคน
09 ถึงดังยังห่วงแม่
 10 ผิดหวังยัคอย
11 ห่วงพี่
12 บ่เคยมีแฟน

Saturday, 2 July 2016


TONSAI TAPTANON ทองใส ทับถนน
This week, let's get deep into Esan, in the south eastern province of Ubon Ratcthani, located on both the Lao and Cambodian borders. If Ubon is well known for it's prehistoric cave paintings and the "candle festival" that will happen later this month during the buddhist celebrations of khao phansa, today we'll focus on another local celebrity, mister Tonsai Taptanon
Mostly famous for being one of the very first musicians to play electric phin (during his years with the Phet Phin Thong band), Tonsai Taptanon is concidered as one of the most influent phin player of his generation (with of course his friend Num Phutai who is behind the production of this tape). Those 2 musicians are a great source of inspiration for many young Esan musicians.
Nowadays, Tonsai Taptanon have his own "drummers band" and still performs live quite often (his band will surely play this year again for khao pansa so don't miss them if you are around).
Tonsai Taptanon and his band
Today we'll listen to DONTRI PHUN MUANG ESAN vol2. This record is not related to the tape previously posted here, (it means traditional music from Esan). Today's tape features some early 2000's electric phin mixed with electronic and traditional elements, a style that became a standard in contemporary instrumental phin recordings (many similar records can easilly be found in records shops, supermarkets and also online) It's the kind of music you can ear during parades or familly events in Esan. Volume 2,  2 sides of 20mn phin sing non stop medley of the 2 stringed phin  master... 
TONSAI TAPTANON ทองใส ทับถนน  
ดนตรีพื้นเมืองอีสาน (2โดย)