May 25, 2011

Bamboo Voices- Khamvong Insixiengmai Ensemble

a post ready since some time-excuse my absence from this lovely place, if you missed me-I doubt :)
 (combination  of successive pc crashes,data losses  and extremely busy with work)
 I promise to be a good boy from now on and participate more actively 
and since music from Laos is almost a rarity in the webs,here's what I've got.-god knows how it came to me...

The best known musical instrument of the Lao is the khene, a three-foot long bundle of fourteen or sixteen bamboo tubes enclosed in a carved wooden windchest.
Within the windchest, each pipe has a small metal reed similar to those found in a pump organ,accordion, or harmonica.
The player inhales and exhales through the windchest, covering one  or more finger holes at a time.
 Each pipe whose fingerhole is covered plays the same pitch, inhaling or exhaling,
permitting the player to produce both drone harmony and patterned harmony.
Because the notes are tuned in a manner similar to Western music, khene music sounds more familiar and accessible to most Westerners than does music from other parts of Southeast Asia.
Vocal music, which in Lao is called lam or khap, is the most important kind of music in Laos.
The performance takes the form of a staged courtship between male and female singers.
Accompaniment is mainly provided by the khene, but other instruments,
such as the phin (plucked lute·sometimes called kachappi) and the so (bowed lute) as well as rhythm instruments (drums, gongs, cymbals) may also be featured.
Years ago, khene players were generally of local origin, while singers were often brought from far away. 
ln modern times, singers usually retain their own favorite and skilled accompanist.
Poems are usually sung from memory, though the best singers are able to compose poetry spontaneously while singing. Lyrics are organized into four-line stanzas, each often having seven basic syllables. 
ln addition, each line may begin with a prefix and conclude with a suffix.
 These serve to complete the meaning or soften the words. 
A complete performance begins with an opening verse, then proceeds directly to the main poem,
 and concludes with a final or closing poem. Male and female singers alternate, as they feign a first meeting singing verses like “what is your name?", "are you married?". 
They might then engage in discussion about each other and about general knowledge issues(Buddhism, history, literature) until they finally part in sadness. 
Many lines are comprised of sophisticated phrases with double meanings
since, according to custom, direct statements are to be avoided.
Lao is a tonal language and a particular melody may be sung many different ways depending on the number of the words in the verse and the tones of the vocal inflections.

from the notes



  1. Thanks for the Lao Bamboo!

    Whe donät even have time to miss ourselves these days. Sorry to hear about your crashes. It can really get to you, I know this to well...

    But real guys never cry they just start rebuilding the boot blocks again ;-)

    Good luck and thanks for the Music

  2. Dear Nauma great music thank you.
    Where you gone?:) I think your presence was felt all the time.