I tend to enjoy a bit of variety, so therefore this post offers something out of the ordinary: a teaser on popular rural Thai music.
‘Luk Thung’ (Thai: ลูกทุ่ง ) is short for ‘Phleng luk thung’ which means something like ‘song of a child of the fields’. It is a music style from the north-eastern provinces of Thailand, referred to as Isan, where rural life is dominated by the poor working in the fields under a blistering sun. Luk thung music is said to reflect the hardships in this kind of life. The tempo is slow and the style of singing is very different from western popular music. Being different, it becomes interesting.
A westerner would perhaps assume this style of music is traditional folk music, but it really isn’t. It is a relative new creation not much older than western popular music, but with obvious influence from Thai culture and traditions. Some of the luk thung artists are no less than superstars in Thailand, selling millions of records. Still, most people in the west have no idea of their existence.
There is an obvious language barrier, as the songs are performed exclusively in Thai, Lao and Isan dialects. However, when I was a kid I listened to English language music without understanding the words. Understanding the words is not always required in music, and I don’t pretend to understand the words of Luk thung music.
Below is an example of Luk Thung music, the artist is Tai Orathai .
For more information on Luk thung, see for example *Luk thung* (Thai country song) and the history of popular music in Thailand from the 1930s up to the present.