Angkanang Kunchai, “Teoy Salap Pamaa”

J. Edward Keyes

By J. Edward Keyes

on 04.09.14 in Listen to This

The first installment of Soundway’s Sound of Siam series was a loose, swinging affair, full of giddy rhythms and odd, bent-wire guitars. The second installment is, on the whole, more meditative, but it’s still just as hypnotic, engrossing and rewarding. Focusing on the music of Northeast Thailand, Volume II again is concentrated around both the Molam (literally, “singing expert”) and Luk Thung (“Song of the Countryside”) styles, tracing how they grew from what was essentially the Thai version of folk music, and gradually — albeit subtly — incorporated the rhythms and instrumentation of music from the West. “Teoy Salap Pamaa” is the perfect example: its darting vocal melody is particular to Thailand, but its throbbing bass and bongo-driven percussion could have been lifted from a mid-period Stax record. The blend of the two styles is utterly bewitching.