Various Artists: The Sound of Siam (Soundway)

 |   |  1 min read

Panom Nopporn: Sao Ban Pok Pab
Various Artists: The Sound of Siam (Soundway)

Increasingly the globe becomes a village -- and the local radio station is broadcasting oldies and archival stuff.

Consider the recent excavating of music from Ethiopia, Nigeria, Sixties South Africa, Dengue Fever's take on Cambodian psychedelic pop, the Shanghai lounge divas project . . .

You sometimes get the sense that in every small town and recording studio there's a British DJ or rep from a world music record label quietly rummaging through boxes of old singles which locals have discarded.

That said, there is enormous fun -- not to say enlightenment -- to be had when compilations of lost or obscure music from various parts of the globe turns up -- as with this collection of "left-field luk-thung, jazz and Molam in Thailand 1964-1975".

Luk-thung is Thai folk and still hugely popular outside the cities, but it was progressively overhauled, adapted and updated by Western pop and rock influences. Molam (or mor lam) is the traditional style from Isaan province (where they make that fantastic chilli beef sausage, but that's another story) which was also hauled into the 20th century whle retaining a yearning, almost homesick quality in the hands of singers such as Pornsak Songsaeng.

But this collection looks at that period when the styles were just starting to cross over -- although unfortunately doesn't include famous Thai rockers Caravan.

No matter, because here are delightfully odd sonic amalgams (Panom Nopporn's Sao Ban Pok Pab with its weird bass thing, piano and accordion is a trip) or re-intepretations of Western classics with a peculiar bent (Chaweewan Dumnern and band do something strange to the Satisfaction riff in a very funky way).

Elsewhere there is left-field Latin, Sixties surf-rock and big band music given a distinctively Thai treatment. I swear to God that Diew Sor Diew Caan by Thong Haud and Kunp'an sounds like an alt.country hoedown from somewhere in the Delta, the Mekong Delta of course.

The often strident vocal style won't be to everyone's taste -- but for the curious, the daring or those just wanting to strech themselves this one helluva lotta fun, and actually a cultural ear-opener.

The radio in the global village just got a new album of oldies for its library.

Like the sound of this? Then try this.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   World Music articles index

Debashish Bhattacharya: Calcutta Slide Guitar (Elite)

Debashish Bhattacharya: Calcutta Slide Guitar (Elite)

Three years ago I chose the Mahima album by Bhattacharya and American guitarist Bob Brozman (who played at Womad that year) as one of the best of the year in the Herald with the comment that their... > Read more

Konono No.1 and Batida; Konono No.1 Meets Batida (Crammed Discs/Southbound)

Konono No.1 and Batida; Konono No.1 Meets Batida (Crammed Discs/Southbound)

Musical relationship where the partners share similar attitudes make for warm comfort but often not much creativity. So perhaps because Angola-born, Portugal-based producer and DJ Batida (Pedro... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . LORRAINE CROSBY: To Hell, and back to the bingo halls

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . LORRAINE CROSBY: To Hell, and back to the bingo halls

When Simon Cowell kicked Lorraine Crosby off the second round of the UK X Factor competition in 2005 saying she lacked “star quality”, he may well have been right. But she could... > Read more

GUEST WRITER NICK D on a weird night and Indo-dance pop

GUEST WRITER NICK D on a weird night and Indo-dance pop

Returning from the success of last year’s incredible sell-out reopening of Auckland’s St James Theatre, A Weird Night Out is back. On Friday 8 July, the Weird Together collective... > Read more