Thursday, 29 August 2019

PART 3: R.A.T.S IN JAPAN "EM records"

Molam dream team: Angkhanang Kunchai, P.Chalatnoi,
Banyen Rakkaen and Chawiwan Damnoen

Here we are in Thailand... Almost!
Let's start with some Japanese R.A.T.S*...
Two Japanese guys named keiichi utsuki and shinsuke takagi buy some Esan music during their holidays in Thailand, it's interesting to note that Thai music in general have it's little audience in Japan and that young Esan luk thung singers (Yin Lee, Moddaeng Jiraporn, Lamyai Haithongkham...) have a few hard core Japanese fans (not those 2 R.A.T.S of course). It's not a miracle to find Esan Cd's in Japan or to have Esan singers performing during tourism fairs, cultural events and private shows in restaurants. No doubt that the R.A.T.S mentioned today have very little interest for such concerts...
*Not all the Japanese people are R.A.T.S and not all R.A.T.S are Japanse of course... just those 2!
Weird Japanese cover of a Ying Lee song
which have been one of the biggest hit in the history of Thai music 

So those guys starts to listen to Esan music and invest in some of those 3$ Cd's you can find everywhere  and start a blog about those. As they know a guy from Thailand they met in Australia  (who confess having NO clue about Thai music) and as they notice the cash made by dengue fever and various “exotic” compilations, they start so sell re-editions (mostly shortened versions of those 3$ Cd's). They sale on EM records.
those 2 R.A.T.S under the name "soi 48" teamed with dengue fever
If I basically I have no problem with jerks tricking tourists I am more concerned by all the lies and the revisionism practiced by those R.A.T.S when it comes to Esan music and culture which I deeply respect.
If I of course never saw keiichi utsuki and shinsuke takagi attending any concerts in Thailand (even if I saw quite a few of the singers they make money from in concerts). I also never heard anybody involved in the molam scene mention their existence.
It's so strange that all those passionate philanthropists pretending to be specialists in Esan music are always totally unknown by the people who make it, perform it and listen to it right now... 
Strange also to always see such R.A.T.S talking about Esan music as something from the past while I had no problems demonstrating that it's THE MOST IMPRESSIVE POPULAR MUSIC SCENE IN THE HISTORY OF HUMANITY... Right now!
Surprising to see keiichi utsuki and shinsuke takagi pretend that the music they sell as being THE holly grail is actually the easiest Esan music you can find in Thailand. If it wasn't the case they would never have "found" it: Vinyl records has been re-edited as tapes as soon as tape players started to spread (to sell tape players, you need music so you use back catalog...). Then when Cd's arrived sold as Cd's again (to sell Cd players...). Then MP3 Cd's and usb formats... It's not "hard to find music" but "back catalog music" like Elvis or the Beatles in Occident... Go to any music shops I listed on this blog and name those singers and,seller will understand and point you some CD's... EASY!
molam Silaphin Phutai paying respect to His Majesty The King Of Thailand
I will use some highlighted excerpts from the promotion made by EM records to describe the lies they create sell their products online. For full access to those texts, just copy/paste those in any search engine.
Let's see the kind of common crap spread by those neo-colonialists R.A.T.S... If it features the usual lack of respect and benevolent attitude you can expect from such people “supporting indigenous populations in their efforts to access civilization”. It also contain some particularly rotten revisionist crap about the identity of an Esan singer...
Nong Mai Pacharee (Prathom Banteungsin)
EM records focus on selling 3 kinds of Esan music:
Luk thung: Songs which can simply described as “popular music" songs.
Lam phloen: A modern form of lam that started during the late 50's. Those EM records R.A.T.S don't seem to have much clue about the subject and the fact lam phloen is originally a form of story telling (lam phloen ruang) performed all night long that used to be distributed in tapes sets of up to 4 hours (and then on VCd's and now on usb formats).
Some full sets (here about 3 hours each) of lam phloen recordings

I personally see lam phloen ruang as one of the main revolutions in the development of Esan music. The shorter “song” format of lam phloen sold by the narrow minded keiichi utsuki and shinsuke takagi is somehow stereotyped* as it was recorded during a short period of time, by a few singers and a very few songwriters during an era when the music sales in Esan were relatively limited (the equipment to play vinyl recors wasen't cheap, people would prefer to buy a radio) and when there wasn't many forms of lam commonly sold: Mostly lam phloen and lam klon were produced on vinyl before the beginning of tape cassettes (lam klon being way to "intellectual" for those idiots they simply ignore it). 
Lam phloen Sao Noy Phet Baan Pheng

Lam phaen: A new form of lam targeting teenagers that came out with the development of tape cassettes during the early 80's. The development of those tape cassettes is with no possible doubt a major event in the history of Esan music, it's the starting point of modernization of local forms of lam and the creative explosion that started many hybrid lam forms. Surprisingly and for not particular reasons, those R.A.T.S wants you to believe Esan music stopped to exist during the early 80's... 
When it gets too creative it can give headache to simple minded people. Those self claimed specialists seems to totally ignore 99% of the existing molam!
Portability and diffusion of the music
 in Thailand during the 80's

*It's interesting to read the EM records R.A.T.S point of view on the subject: “an era before the cassette era devolved, for lesser talents, into a production line of sound-alikes.” Is exactly the opposite of my point of view (not only mine as far as I can see)...
How could a better diffusion to a larger audience, better roads and equipment to tour and produce music, promotion on television, many new singers (including all those who will become today's superstars), lots of new distinctive forms of hybrid lam, more song writers and producers who learned their job as successful singers during the 70's and who will produce some the most popular songs in the history of Esan music (Dao Bandon, Soraphet Pinyo, Kamkoeng Thongchan...). all those people working with a larger amount of record companies... How could this end up sound producing “sound-alike / lesser talents”... Facts or fiction? Coming from geniuses having reggae as main cultural reference the words “sound-alike” and
"lesser talents” sound hilarious! 
A few tapes by Hongthong Dao'Udon, Banyen Rakkaen, Dao Bandon and Angkhanang Kunchai...
"for lesser talents, into a production line of sound-alikes"
Stupid contradiction is obviously never a problem for tourist scammers...

Note that (according to what EM records pretends) all the great singers (sold as "from the 70's) keiichi utsuki and shinsuke takagi make profit from seems to have lost all their talent as soon as tapes arrived as they never include any songs recorded after their "golden era" in their compilations. Same goes for the musicians, songwriters, composers and producers... DAMN TAPE CASSETTES! So much talent wasted... (You'll see in next post that many of those singers still perform on stage and record songs...).
Somjit Bothong is still very popular over 30 years after his first hit single written by Dao Bandon
Essential Dao Bandon
HA HA HA! Wow, a Dao Bandon “essential” compilation! What do we have here? “Man on a Water Buffalo” is a 12 tracks compilation simply made out of 2 existing compilation of 70's songs by Dao Bandon (sold by the great Krung Thai record company). Those 2 CD's are sold 3$ each and both contain 18 songs. Basically you pay 30$ for 1/3 of the music you could get for 6$ WHAT A BARGAIN! And such a deep research work from EM records! If they proudly claim a First ever world release by the artist outside of Thailand they forget to mention that 99% of the music created in the world never had any international release and that the music of Dao Bandon is available internationally for free on youtube (the number 1 distributor of Esan music for about 15 years) and for sale at online shops like I mentioned previously.
A few tapes featuring Dao Bandon and friends
For reasons unknowable, certain places in certain eras become hotbeds of music, fertile in their growth and flowering of musical talent. Thailand in the 1970s was such a place... That's strictly not what Esan people who have been listening to Esan music all their life think as pretty much all the most popular Esan songs have been produced between 1985 and 1995 (during the tape cassette "creative explosion").
Let's get back to Dao Bandon and this “essential” compilation. Dao bandon has been singing since the mid 70's, an ongoing career of 45 years that could certainly not be resumed with 12 songs from his early recordings as Dao Bandon released between 70 and 100 albums, he still performs live and write new songs so it's interesting to see some "music experts" considering over 40 years of an ongoing career as non existing! This compilation doesn't feature interesting documents like his own cover of the most famous song he ever wrote for Honey Sri Esan (Dao Bandon is one of the most famous songwriters from Esan). Not any duo songs from his numerous collaboration records with famous Esan singers (Angkhanang Kunchai, Theppon Phetubon, Saksiam Phetchompu...), not even 1 song on duo with the queen of lam phloen: Phimchai Phetphalanchai while they released MANY albums together! How can those R.A.T.S pretend to have any kind of interest for the music of Dao Bandon if they consider 99% of it as non existing?

9 of the tapes featuring Dao Bandon and Phimchai Phetphalanchai

It sounds like mythomaniac delirium...
The best of Khwanta Fasawang. Well, well, well... What do we have here? 8 songs compiled from 2 lam phaen tapes WHAT A BEST OF! If I can understand those R.A.T.S are more interested in money than music they could at least ask for help from people who have a clue on the subject... I know Khwanta is not that famous but she could have deserved some efforts. I really like her voice (even if on her lam phaen recordings the production hides some of her talent). It's stupid and dishonest to show Khwanta Fasawang as just performing lam phaen as she in fact performed all kind of lam such as lam phloen, lam long, lam yao, lam doen prayuk... Once again the largest part of the career of the “product”is totally ignored...Funny to note that the cover they use for their product is the cover of an album featuring not only lam phaen but also lam yao... Hard to ignore it exist then.
Some Khwanta Fasawang tapes featuring:
lam phaen, lam phloen, lam long, lam yao, lam doen prayuk
queen of the cassette era. I have a huge collection of Esan music, of course it contains a large panorama of the few tapes released by Khwanta Fasawang. If for once those EM records R.A.T.S could have claim to sell something less common than they usually do, they keep going with their mythomaniac crap. Khwanta Fasawang did not have such a huge career (if she did I would have 30 to 50 of her tapes and it's by far not the case!). If the friends I asked did not know her they sure all know all the queens of the cassette era who are (in no particular order) Duanphen Amnuayphon, Jintara Poonlarb and Siriphon Ampaipong. Even If they obviously have no kind of interest for their work those R.A.T.S could at least have some respect for some of the most beloved Esan singers.
"queens of the cassette era"
a few of my tapes by Esan superstars:
Duanphen Amnuayphon, Siriphon Ampaipong and Jintara Poonlarb

Those 3 superstars all released well over 50 albums since their beginnings in the mid 80's, they are famous for performing luk thung as well as many lam genres, they are curently signed on major record companies, their songs are covered by the world's biggest bands and played on Esan music TV channels everyday.  Many Esan teenagers know their early sucess perfectly and can sing their biggest hits (recent or old). Those 3 singers can bring large audiences to their concerts all year long and they still often release top selling albums... Ask their names to anyone in Esan and people will instantly start singing!
It's easier to talk about things you have a clue about!
Esan superstars in concert:
Duanphen Amnuayphon, Siriphon Ampaipong and Jintara Poonlarb

Jintara Poonlarb "Tao Ngoy"

(a few official videos of this song are available 
on youtube, this one got 121 million views!)
Esan kids "Tao Ngoy"

Esan university studdents on fire... "Tao Ngoy"
and other Esan hits!
electronics has parallels with Jamaican Dancehall, and this music I find it great that those 2 R.A.T.S can finally find opportunities to talk about their only musical reference though nobody listening to molam have any kind of interest for such thing...Why do they Sell Esan music and not reggae?
This is living music, and very fine music at that. Queen Khwanta, Sister Fasawang*. She can't be denied. ??? I don't understand what those guys talk about but I know lots of living music from Esan that performs concerts all years long...  
can't be denied...did I mention the constant revisionism those guy are expert in?
* Another reggae reference.
Last example from EM records... I could keep going on and on but it would get boring and honestly I now want to vomit...
The large majority of  the molam troupes feature some very popular transvestite comedians.

If I previously mentioned that molam is the largest gay cultural community in the world, it's not a “detail from history” like revisionists could say. Gay men and transgender ladies (know in Thailand as “kratoey”) are the HEART AND SOUL of molam: Singers, dancers, comedians, hard core fans, people supporting and sponsoring bands. At every modern molam concerts singers thanks the “kratoey” community! Of course, none of the foreign “experts” ever mentioned that major historical fact! The promotion of the compilation of some Sonthaya Kalasin songs by those EM records guys really made me feel sick...
Young Sonthaya Kalasin covered by flower garlands
Sonthaya Kalasin was the male lead singer in in the molam... Sure...WAS
male molam lower vocal range... “lower vocal range” How surprising...
but more than a document, "Grade A Guy" is grade A music... Bunch of  R.A.T.S!
If keiichi utsuki and shinsuke takagi obviously spent some time on google to get some information about Sonthaya Kalasin they strangely omited the most important part of the life of someone they strangely call "Grade A Guy". Sonthaya is kratoey, from the first generation of Thai transgenders who could access surgery to physically become the woman they always been. Sonthaya is a symbol for the community and if you type her name in google or youtube you'll find interviews where she talk about her life, as a woman and as a molam! Many of my friends are kratoey, if their life is not always easy, in the molam community they find a real space of freedom, a family! I really doubt any of them would be happy to be called "Grade A Guy"! Those R.A.T.S can come and try...

Sonthaya Kalasin: 30 mn interview featuring 2 lam on Channel 3
(in gorgeous traditional Phu Tai Kalasin clothes)

In the same mood, I still wonder why "Grade A R.A.T.S" making profit on Esan music often promote their over priced products using pejorative and racists clichés to describe the molam community: "music for poor people", "music for taxi drivers", I could even read “music for prostitutes” on a french website...
In next part we'll see how maft sai (“zudrangma records”, the paradise Bangkok molam international band”, “studio lam”, “toomturn molam group”...) use some pretty old school references for his discriminating propaganda. 
It's interesting to end up this post with the only 2 recent photos used by EM records on the covers of some their products* those are pretty much on the same mood as the racists crap from their friends and leave no doubts on the image they want to spread about Esan people!
*I seriously guess that book those R.A.T.S published "trip to Isan" is a pure fiction novel, kind of "heroic fantasy"...
prostitutes and moto taxis...
-All the photos signed "Saobao Esan" are all taken by myself. Those only show regular events in their most usual forms. Nothing unique or exceptional, nothing tricky. What you see here happen very often.
-All the tapes and other formats cover pictures signed "Saobao Esan" are from my personal collection.
-Everything you read here is part of my personal researches and not some copy/pasted unverified information. If you want to quote anything from my work, you should contact me first. 
-The documents I quote are not information and can't be seen as "work", those are fraudulent propaganda I compare to facts. Such propaganda not only discredit Esan culture but it also fools YOU. The people paying those frauds are either victims or "partners in crime", Their reaction (or absence of reaction) following my publications will show their positions.
All the people mentioned in this serie of documents are welcome to express their point of view here (I can add more document showing they are clueless liars upon request).

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