Classical Music of Northern Thailand
The String Ensemble Tradition of the Lanna Kingdom
Lanna Orchid Ensemble of Chiang Mai University
Before the turn of the 20th century, the Lanna kingdom of northern Thailand enjoyed considerable political power and prestige. One indicator was the development of a rich body of music that is particular to northern Thailand, and often played on instruments only found in the north. Since the mid-1970s, there has been a resurgence of interest in the cultural legacy of Lanna, and many universities now sponsor traditional music and dance programs.
The Lanna Orchid Ensemble of Chiang Mai University is one such ensemble. They are a "salaw saw seung" ensemble, utilizing such northern instruments as the salaw (free bow fiddle), saw (single-reed pipe) and seung (plucked lute). They are also dedicated to research; the cassette comes with extensive notes describing the songs. These notes have been translated and are available as a Word document with Thai titles set in the Angsana font.
Finding recordings of music from northern Thailand is very difficult. One particular recording on the Pan label is called Lanna Thai. A wonderful source of rare CDs produced in Thailand is Thai Net City.
For more information or comments, please email me.
Central Thai Classical Suites
Northern Thai funeral music
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