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Lao Music

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If you want to learn about Thai music then you will like this page on LukTung, also this page on Thai Singers & Their Fans

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Traditional Lao music is known as Lam, probably what we would call folk music, the main instrument, or at least the most interesting is the Khene, this is a mouth organ made from differing lengths of bamboo, you can watch some music videos using the Khene here.

Nowadays of course in Lao pop music, rock music, country music and of course lam (morlum - morlam) are probably the most popular, apart from the lam it's pretty much the same as the world over.

One of the most famous Lao singers is Phone Phoummithone who at the age of 10 moved to America and in 1988 performed her first major concert in Montreal, Canada.

If your into hip hop then why not have a listen to some of these songs by Lao Crimino.

Other Lao bands, singers and music you may like

Airnoy - Alexandra Bounxouei - Boongurd - Cream - Darwpech - Kongla Vongsamphanh - Lao Crimino - Lao Music Lum-Lam - O.B.O.T. - Penny Lao - Phetnongmai Band - Phone Phoummithone - Sombath Keokhamdy - Unicorn

Lam or Morlam Article Written By Crazy Dog

The traditional folk music of Laos is morlam, the same as it is in a large part of N.E. Thailand known as Isaan which is populated by Lao people who have their own language and culture.

Morlam has more local styles in Laos than in Thailand, but several seem to be rarely performed today.
Itís a common trend that as countries have become modernised country folk music often becomes marginalised and begins to lose its appeal and relevance to younger generations. If you look at ex pat Lao internet forums you will find very, very, few interested in lam, to most younger people Lao pop and god forbid, Lao rap and hip hop, has far more pulling power.

Lao ex pats scattered across the world, but mostly in the USA, tend to regard lam as music their parents, or even grandparents used to enjoy.
At the same time they can be fiercely proud of the musical traditions of the home country.
On my one visit there I was disappointed at the lack of morlam being played anywhere in the capital, it seems you need to go into the country to hear it live.

Central to morlam is the reed instrument known as the Khaen, this is found in Thai music as well as Laos.
This sort of reed mouth organ is found in various countries in SE Asia, but the Laos version is said to be the most sophisticated.
Itís most common version is a 16 paired pipe one called khaen baet.
Not an easy instrument to master it is almost exclusively a male instrument, but there are one or two woman players, at least in Thailand.

The khaen player is known as the mo khaen, mo meaning expert and the singers mo lam, or expert singer giving the music it name.
However, there is a devilishly hard to differentiate number of morlam styles, people often get them mixed up and itís not surprising.

There developed many more styles of lam in Laos probably due to the hilly terrain isolating one area from another far more than over the border in what became the Thai lao area.

The most well known and widespread version of morlam in Laos is Saravanh which was from a province in the south of the country, in this example the dancing is particularly fine, something you do not always see in modern Thai morlam.

lam Peun is also a southern style, a fast dance type of lam this example is a modern version of the style.
Unfortunately as my ISP is too slow to upload anything to you tube I have just used existing examples of clips not too boring, there are plenty of more authentic rural one, but I thought these gals looked better!

lam Phu Thai is named after the ethnic minority spread across laos, Thailand and Vietnam.
It is one of the styles that is a bit easier to identify due to itís often re curing rhythmical chant like sections.
Phu Thai have their own language.
Singer Latsamy is very good and well known, has toured USA in 2009.

Lam Tang wai, or vey from the village of the same name, a popular style in Thailand as well with artists like Banyen Raggen and Job and Joy recording this type of lam.

Lam Sithadon One of the most popular and beautiful versions it means 4,000 islands and I assume must originate around Khong Island.

Lam long
From the Mekong river area, itís a slow plaintive lament style popular in Thailand as well.

There is nobody better at this style then Jintara Poonlap, OK sheís not from Laos but I could not find anything nearly as good as an example, really beautiful singing from a true expert.
Western writers who annoyingly compare morlam to western rap have obviously not heard this style!

This is just the tip of the khaen, there are lots more styles than this in the rich tapestry of Laosís folk music, something they can rightly be proud of, and something they should really promote more than they do.

Other Lao Bands & Singers You May Enjoy

Penny Lao Hot Hits
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Cream - Lao Music Concert

Sao Bouw Pha - Lao Music - Laos

Phetnongmai Band from Laos Live

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Sombath Keokhamdy - Lao Music

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