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original cassette cover

Burma

Mahagita Songs: Thachinkan

These songs are from a large body of classical songs known as the Mahagita (Sanskrit for Great Songs). These are from the genre known as Thachinkan, often seen as the most poetic and refined. They are performed here by U Myint Maung on the saung (harp) and sung by Daw Yi Yi Thant.

More information on Burmese music and its cultural context can be found in the Burmese Music web pages of Robert Garfias.

U Myint Maung, who passed away on 5 September 2001, was considered one of the best harpists of the modern era. Originally from Inle Lake, he became an apprentice of the legendary U Ba Than in 1962. He later moved to Mandalay, far from Rangoon, and established a school in his home. The picture on the cassette cover was taken in 1965, when he won a competition at the Mandalay School of the Arts.

Daw Yi Yi Thant is among the most highly regarded singers of the classical Mahagita repertoire. She appears frequently on Burmese television, and was recently featured on a Shanachie recording of Burmese music entitled White Elephants and Golden Ducks.

Smithsonian Folkways recently released a new recording of classical songs performed by U Myint Maung and Daw Yi Yi Thant. Entitled Mahagita, it features nine songs of varied styles and extensive notes on the music and lyrics. It was recorded shortly before U Myint Maung's death and is dedicated in his name.

The titles in Burmese are available in a Word document set in the Suu Kyi font. Title translations are in the ID3 tags.

For recommendations, comments or questions, email me. Please let me know if there is interest in other genres of Mahagita songs.

While I cannot advise it, anyone interested in travelling to Myanmar will find good travel information and many links in Peter Geiser's Internet Travel Guide

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Other Burmese classical pages include:
U Ba Than and Sein Chit Ti