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[30]. World Music Library, KICC 5123 - Thailand - Mo Lam Singing of Northeast Thailand

Thursday, October 1, 2009 ·

Mo lam is a folk-song style from Isan province in northeast Thailand, although in the 1980s it enjoyed wide popularity in Bangkok and a few of the musicians actually made European and American tours. It is a form that has both structured and improvised parts, usually in the same song, and is best known for its sad and plaintive sound, although there are some uptempo modes that are quite lively. Chawiwan Damnoen is considered one of the best of the female mo lam singers, with a precise yet spirited delivery and a great skill at the improvised parts. She is accompanied by Thongkham Thaikla on the khaen, a wind instrument made of a bundle of bamboo tubes fitted with free reeds that is played by blowing into a central chamber and creating notes by opening and closing a hole on each tuned tube. They instrument necessitates a rhythmic playing style that is often at odds with the slow and ornamented vocals it accompanies. --Louis Gibson



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