In molam music, the vocals of the molam performer and the sound of the khaen, a free reed mouth organ, are intimately linked. Panupong Thongsri looks at the evolution of molam lyrics and khaen music in Isaan.
Molam music has a spellbinding power. For generations, it has shaped the cultural soul of the Lao-speaking people on both banks of the Mekong River and their communities around the world. Often declared a dying breed, it continues to reinvent itself in new modern forms while serving as a source of cultural agency for the young generation.
The Isaan Record20/03/2020
Six decades of dam building, from the dawn of the Cold War to the tenure of the latest military junta are proof of the failure of water management in Isaan. It’s time to dismantle the dams and turn to sustainable approaches, writes environmental expert Chainarong Setthachua.
How sugar arrived in Southeast Asia and became so dominant within the Thai culture and economy.
The Isaan Record10/09/2019
In the first part of our series on sweetness and power we provide a big-picture view of the historical rise and spread of sugar.
The Isaan Record05/09/2019
At the remains of a former US military base in Udon Thani once called Ramasun Station, two locals tell stories of what life was like when the city was bustling with American GIs.
The Isaan Record22/06/2019
Lao groups in the Northeast once used the Tai Noi script. But Siam’s national integration project imposed Central Thai as the only official language in the region.
Political scientist Thanet Charoenmuang on the history of (de)centralization of the Thai state.
The Isaan Record01/05/2018
Movie theaters chains have replaced most of the independent cinemas once found in almost every city of the Northeast. But in the region’s smaller towns, stand-alone movie parlors continue to draw a loyal audience.