Thai Music - Mor Lam
In our last article, we discussed the main genres of Thai music. In this and subsequent articles we will try to make Thai music a little more accessible to foreigners by looking at some of the most famous Thai artists. You might not actually like the music but at least we hope to give you some insight about it.
You can usually find examples of these artists' work on YouTube. We will include a few links to give you a taste of what these performers do. You will have to forgive us if some of these links grow out of date; YouTube videos do have a habit of occasionally disappearing.
We will start with Mor Lam. To recap what we said in our previous article, Mor Lam is folk music from Isaan and has a strong Laos influence. It is fast paced, funky music with a lively beat. The lyrics are about the hardships of Thai rural life.
When you are searching for these artists' songs on YouTube, remember that many of them also perform Luke Toong music so you may notice some of their songs are in a different style.
Jintara Poonlarp (born 1971)
She is such a big star in Thailand that she is simply known as Jintara, sometimes just Jin. She is primarily known as a Mor Lam singer although she has also done plenty of Luke Toong work. Like many Thai singing stars, she began her career performing at singing contests. Her distinctive edgy voice and wonderful range and phrasing brought her to the attention of record producers. She has since released over 40 albums and she is the undoubted current queen of Mor Lam.
With a vocal range that very few singers can imitate, classic Thai beauty looks and a genuine natural charm, she is a natural performer. She has a modern image that gives the classic Mor Lam genre a contemporary update with a little pop influence. She tends to wear contemporary clothes and her backing dancers also often dress in trendy outfits.
Here are a couple of her Mor Lam classics:
Her range and popularity are such that she has also performed a few mainstream pop numbers such as this collaboration with the famous Thai pop star Bird.
YouTube - Bird & Jintara - Ma Tum Mai (Why Come?)
Banyen Rakgaen (born 1950)
Banyen is highly regarded for her graceful Thai dancing as well as her fabulous voice.
She came to prominence in the 1980s and was the first Mor Lam star to bring the genre to a wider audience beyond its Isaan heartland. She integrated her graceful Thai dancing and traditional Thai costumes with electric instruments and also introduced some more modern dance themes.
She still performs today. Of course she is no longer a spring chicken but she maintains her natural grace and still has a fabulous voice.
Here are a couple of other well known Mor Lum stars you might like to check out on YouTube.
YouTube - Saow Yaso (Arrogant Girl)
We hope this little selection of songs give you a feel for Mor Lam. Next time out we will look at Luke Toong.
If you want to know more about Luke Toong and Mor Lam you should read this article written by Peter.
Thai Music -- Genres & History - An introduction to the main genres of Thai music and their history.
Thai Music -- Mor Lam - An introduction to the stars of Mor Lam (Thai folk music).
Thai Music -- Luke Toong - An introduction to the stars of Luke Toong (Thai folk and country music).
Thai Music -- Peua Cheewit - AAn introduction to the stars of Peua Cheewit (Thai songs for life).
Thai Music -- Pop - An introduction to the stars of Thai pop music.
Thai Music -- Rock - An introduction to the stars of Thai rock music.
Live Music in Phuket - We finish our series about Thai music with a look at the live music scene in Phuket.