For the past six weeks we’ve run a special series, “The Soul of Molam.” We brought you features, photo essays, interviews, and videos about the rich culture of molam and the people who live and breathe it. In this final part, we give space to our readers and some of the people we interviewed to take a look at what the series did well and what it missed out on.
What does the future hold for molam music? Five molam artists share their views on the state of the genre. We talked to Nattapon Siangsukon from Paradise Bangkok Molam International Band, Boonchuang Denduang, Dao Bandon, Ratri Sriwilai and Phichai Phorahomphui.
The Isaan Record29/04/2020
When Chris Beale bought a curious old vinyl record at his local record store in San Francisco ten years ago, he had no idea it would lead him to photograph Isaan’s most famed molam artists. The American photographer, who recently showed his work in Khon Kaen, talks about his current project to document molam culture in Isaan and Laos.
The Isaan Record26/04/2020
Ethnomusicologist John Garzoli talks about the ways that molam and the khaen have evolved in the past few decades and his hopes for the future of the genre.
The Isaan Record24/04/2020
The molam we know today stems from a century-old Lao tradition that is being transformed by its mingling with central Thai forms and international styles. What do we know about that original tradition? Are there khaen-playing practitioners still performing today in Isaan? John Garzoli, an ethnomusicologist looking precisely at these issues, shares his views.
The Isaan Record19/04/2020
A look into the evolution of popular Isaan music from molam, luk thung to pop. Panis Phosriwungchai traces how Isaan music transformed itself to become Thailand’s most popular music.
When female molam performers face sexual harassment, they often feel they have no recourse. “It doesn’t matter how angry we are, we still have to smile at them.”
The Isaan Record31/03/2020
The life of Molam Bank or Patiwat Saraiyaem took a dark turn in 2014 when he was convicted of royal defamation for a role he performed in a theater play. He spent two and a half years in prison. But the time behind bars did not stifle his talent for political molam songs.
The Isaan Record29/03/2020
Luk thung-molam songs penned by independent and previously unknown Isaan singers are racking up millions of views on YouTube. How did this new generation of artists gain such massive success in Thailand’s mainstream music culture?