Live Party Music Option 1
If you are living in Isan you will have the option to join in many street parties and there are four live music options you will be dancing to. I am going to be covering three of them in a series of posts starting with this one. The missing one is a lum or mainly percussion band, which I have covered before.
In this and the following two related posts you will join us as we party through three very different event themes, which in itself examples the variety of ways Isan people find an excuse to enjoy themselves. In the three posts I will share I won’t just focus on the music aspect but give you insights into what event each occasion is based around.
Our first party time was just outside Si Bun Ruang as part of a late Bun Bang Fai (Isan rocket festival) celebration in May. We had been invited to join an Australian friend, his wife and family for lunch followed by their local moo ban’s street procession. After that was the big event of the day. Jon and Tha had hired a large mobile music truck to be based at the local community centre area for the enjoyment of all. So by category this was a stationery mobile music truck!
But before we join the dancing let’s have a quick look at the very small but colourful procession this small village had arranged for Bun Bang Fai.
School kids all dressed up.
The local monks were on the move too.
It’s hard not to capture beautiful characterful images in Thailand.
This young girl was fully into the music and put some of the formal dancers to shame 🙂
There’s always a smile in return for your smile and enthusiasm. Leave your western restraint at home and put your happy face on. Thais will respond doubly.
Opposite ends of life but joined by love. Ahhh, that was nice wasn’t it 🙂 Orders for Isan greeting cards will be taken.
I have had so many youngsters and a few older folk come up wanting their photo taken at these events that I am going to publish a separate post with some of the photos. Young girls wanting me to take their photo was never a big call on my time in Australia but here evidently I am the man and I do my best to fulfill my community obligations 🙂
How full of character are Isan people and how experienced at the ideal group shot! OK, enough , let’s get to the real point of this post (finally you say).
These trucks are a recent addition to the Isan live music scene. I saw them for the frst time during last year’s festivals.
The concept of them is obviously to be mobile providing constant music to a crowd moving to a destination or a formal procession. However they can also become a fixed party central, as Jon’s truck was in this instance. The benefit of this over say a cheaper non-live sound system on the back of a farm truck, like the one used in the moo ban procession below, is that these new trucks have expensive, up to date equipment and the band is live. Most of the non-live music you hear are MP3’s pinched from YouTube, so by audio standards very low quality.
Jon and Tha being super organised had arranged for a family and friends drinks station to be set up with shade. These are my sort of friends.
I am not sure how I ended up with two beers in both photos but it certainly seemed to help with my dance moves. Jon and sombrero hat in both photos.
Yes, there has to be a beer influence somewhere in this photo.
These trucks are on two levels. Underneath are the diesel generators that power everyting and the sound monitoring equipment. Upstairs is the live band, usually with both a male and female singer. The front and back of the truck are filled with massive speakers.
Each year there seems to be a standard new song that is picked up a played on every music truck at some stage during a street party. This is the one for this year HERE. If you think that this video is a bit amateurish then you’d be right. It has been shot live from the top deck of a music truck playing to a crowd. I have added it because it gives you a taste for what’s happening on top deck. I love the song too but that’s personal.
OK girls, just one more. Life is a constant struggle here for me as you can tell.
The very unique aspect to the afternoon was some of the security arrangements Jon and Tha had made. These events tend to usually have private security of some sort often organised by the moo ban, often just local guys who dress up. Sometimes the police also turn up later in the day in case youngsters get out of hand after a day of drinking. The moo ban security I have observed have an average age of about seventy but carry large battons and are way fitter than me. I have even seen security with long muskets once. Now that’s getting a bit serious.
The unique aspect here was that we had a squad of Thai army MPs in full uniform to look after us, hired for the occasion. They looked the part and were extremely professional just monitoring the event but never being overpowering or intrusive. The photo on the right shows a slight altercation, which is why the MPs are there in force, which was very quickly snuffed out without any violence.
I must say that this was the safest I have ever felt at one of these events. There’s actually rarely any major problems that I have ever seen. The occasional punch up that is usually sorted by friends or in one memorable case this large bloke was smacked around by his mum to bring him in line 🙂
I don’t need to tell you that Gaun was in party mode because all you regulars will take that for granted. Anyway, here’s Gaun in party mode!!! (My darling wife for any newbies, second on the right)
OK. This is the last one! I’m in it this time. Spot the farang (still drinking!)
Later in the afternoon the police turned up in force too. Probably just because they wanted to listen to the music. We now had military MPs, police and private security. Jon and Tha’s reputation might not be as restrained as I thought it was.
Tha in the centre with Gaun on the left and sunset over the village pond on the right.
T shirts made for the day. Jon and Tha with family and friends at the end of the day. Thank you both for a wonderful afternoon and we will be back anytime you call!