THE MUSICAL HERITAGE OF NORTHEAST THAILAND
VOLUME 2: PUPPET THEATER IN ISAN
Released by earthcds partners.
Recorded by Terry Miller
Audio CD: 60 minutes - 5 tracks.
The second CD in the Musical Heritage of Northeast Thailand series, an anthology of field recordings made by Terry Miller in various provinces of Northeast Thailand, a mostly Lao-speaking region commonly known as Isan. When these recordings were made in 1973, Isan shadow theater was still popular, though not prominent and virtually unknown outside Isan. It attracted enthusiastic audiences, however, consisting of both adults and children. For those understanding the double entendres, there was much sexual innuendo, and for those not understanding them, there was the occasional action which anyone, including foreigners could understand (e.g., copulating horse puppets). Amazingly, both troupes featured in this recording continue to exist under the same managers they had in 1973, but performances are few and far between. Three instruments are used: the khaen free-reed mouth organ with sixteen bamboo pipes plays melody and accompanies singing, the sing, a pair of small bronze cymbals, and a common drum played with the hands. In addition there are singers, both male and female as well as spoken dialogue. Dr. Miller, a reknowned scholar of Thai music, was formerly the head of the ethnomusicology department at Kent State University, and made these recordings while completing his doctoral dissertation fieldwork under the supervision of Prof. Jarernchai Chonpairot of Mahasarakham University.