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Laos: Traditional Music of the South

Various Artists
Laos: Traditional Music of the South

The Laotian national instrument is the khène, typically an eighty centimeter (roughly a two and a half foot) long mouth organ constructed of seven or eight pairs of bamboo pipes that are connected with a small, hollowed-out hardwood reservoir into which air is blown. Its sound is similar to that of a violin, and it may be played as a solo instrument or to accompany singers and instrumental ensembles. The khène also occurs in a two meter (approximately six and a half foot) version, which few musicians have powerful enough lungs to master.

The khène can be heard on most of the tracks in this recording, which includes ritual music, wedding music, and songs such as "Lam Sithandone" sung by professional singers Thao and Nang Sikhone.

This collection of traditional Laotian music was compiled by Jacques Brunet, a musicologist who studied the music of Southeast Asia and Indonesia. He also produced the UNESCO album Indonesia - Music from West Java (UNESC08041) Liner notes cite the strong influence of Khmers on the culture and music of southern Laos.

Please enjoy a free download of the song “Lot Fay Tay Lang”

Lot Fay Tay LangMP3 FLAC

This album is part of the UNESCO Collection of Traditional Music. More than 125 albums are being released by Smithsonian Folkways Recordings to make the series publicly available, including a dozen never-released albums of musical traditions from around the globe.

Track Listing

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Pheng phi fa Phu Thao Tène, Thao Sene, Thao Seng, Thao Bunkeud 5:28
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Lam sithandone Thao Sikhone, Nang Sikhone, Thao Salitat 7:26
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Pheng kom Pinphat orchestra of Champassak 6:32
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Music for the ceremony of the buffalo sacrifice The musicians of the Muong village of Ta-Uy, Thao Nay Chong 6:29
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Sut sa men / Ma it thiet lo hat / Tit sut noi Thao Phet Sananikhone 8:24
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Pheng soysonthat The wedding orchestra of Champassak 6:10
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Lam of savannakhet Tha Bunthong, Thao Salilath 8:33
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Lot fay tay lang (The train goes down the track) Thao Salilath 3:08