Capturing Isaan

I spent this past Friday and Saturday recording some Isaan music. It was a good experience. It was my first time recording so many instruments simultaneously. It was also my first time recording music in a non-Western style. Coming from another culture, from a different music aesthetic, I had to be careful not to impose a Western aesthetic on the recording.

I’m still going over the recordings, but you can hear a sample here.

Operating in the Isaan language for two days was fun, though it put a severe draw on the ol’ gray cells. Talking with the drummer, an older blind man, I had the following exchange:

Drummer: “How do the drums sound?”
Myself: “I think they sound great”
Drummer: “Good, because I can’t see and sometimes I miss the drums”

Another benefit of the venture was a few meals worth of Isaan food.

Written by Micah in: Thailand | Tags: ,


The other day on the porch I learned a little about the Isaan language. Specifically I learned that it is more a collection of Lao-Thai variations, than a distinct language. Villages 5 km apart will say things quite differently. They will use different words, different word order, etc. So much so, that some central Thai who have lived in this area for a long time cannot understand Isaan from certain villages. They can understand Lao from across the border (it is more standardized, thanks to being a written language), but they have difficulty understanding the language spoken in the next village over.

Written by Micah in: Thailand | Tags: ,

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