Morlum Lao: Classical, Folk and Short History on Lao Music.
Laos, in it’s essence, is the countryside of S.E Asia, isolated and landlocked in mountainous regions that would culturally preserve and retain many historic cultures in Laos today.
One instrument that makes Lao music very unique is the Khaen (See picture of boy holding instrument). A windpipe instrument and key instrument in Lao music. Other instruments include bells and traditional drums.
Now with many Western influences, began the use of guitars, drums and especially the electric piano, which has been very popular in today Thai and Lao celebrations.
Each regions in Laos (Northern, Central, Southern, Northeast and Isan (Northeast Thailand) have their own specific styles of vocals, instruments and dances. However, I am just covering the very basics of it:
The music presented here is folk music. Folk music, meaning that is is simple and that common people could play and listen. It is generally very traditional, sticking to very simple instruments, the Khaen, bells and vocals, storytelling. It is a national past time and can be found to be played in very rural areas. (Assuming: I believe that the music style is Southern Lao, due to the clothes worn)
In terms of Classical, in Western perspectives, it means that it is highly defined and played by professionals and played at royal settings. This includes many Lao and Thai/Khmer instruments that is orchestrated for celebrations and at royal courts. A whole orchestra like this is very hard to find, as many have passed on and people have forgotten to play since 1975 when the Kingdom fell into the Communist. (The music played is a Vientiane-Luang Prabang (Northern-Central Lao classical music.)
Now in recent times, when Western influences began to become prominent, you can tell that in this piece, it is very modern. Guitars and electric pianos are being used. It is considered “Country Music” in Thailand, and is both very popular and widely played and performed in today’s world.
(Music is performed by Lao Essan people (Thailand’s Northeast region), but the song itself is from the Southern region from the city, “Salavan”)