Tradition and innovation in Isan
The Northeast positively rocked last month, hosting both a molam glawn band competition and an Isan dancehall night reminiscent of a 'blues party' in South London
The idyllic rural setting of Jim Thompson's Farm in Pak Thong Chai in the northeastern province of Nakhon Ratchasima was the venue for a battle of the bands on Dec 23. The Sud Sanan Dan Isan contest featured 12 molam teams from secondary schools and colleges across Isan, all vying for glory.
The competition was organised to encourage teenagers to take up a traditional style of molam called molam glawn, a poetic or repartee interpretation of lam which, according to Chutima Dumsuwan, PR and brand manager at Jim Thompson, has been getting increasingly hard to find in recent years.
"We [at Jim Thompson's Farm] received an Isan Heritage Preservation Award earlier in 2012 from Khon Kaen University and we saw some wonderful lam performances from Chaweewan Damnoen and Aungkanang Kunchai at the awards ceremony. It gave us the idea of creating a contest to encourage young people to take up this kind of music," she explained.
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