Molam Aungkanang Kunchai's long-awaited return to Bangkok to play a concert of some of her greatest work from the 1970s came to fruition on Saturday at Sonic on Soi Ekamai. A delirious, packed crowd greeted her and her three-member hang krueang (chorus line) with rapturous applause as they showed Bangkokians and expatriates how to groove Isan style.
The Bangkok Paradise Molam International Band provided the backing, driven by Piyanart Jotikasthira's funky basslines, Khammao Perdthanon's phin riffs, the vamping khaen of Sawai Kaewsombat and Phusana Treeburut's drums. DJ Chris Menist swapped his decks for a pair of congas to add a percussive punch to the sound.
I should explain that Aungkanang is something of an icon for DJs. Her vinyl releases from the golden era of the '70s can fetch handsome prices but that doesn't deter collectors and DJs from snapping up her work. I've seen DJs from all over the world buy her work over the past few years and I suppose they are playing her music in clubs and parties Europe, America and Japan as well. Local DJ Masa Niwayama, a big fan of her music, had a beatific smile on his face most of the evening after getting his photograph taken with the great lady.
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