Remember the Raja A tribute to Pornsak Songsaeng who passed away aged 60

Asia's Tech News Daily
Remember the Raja  A tribute to Pornsak Songsaeng who passed away aged 60

Pornsak Songseang. Photo: www.facebook.com/Boat.Sukarom

Pornsak Songsaeng, the 'Raja of Molam' from Isan, died of a heart attack in Nong Bua Lam Phu province on Oct 17. He was 60 years old. Pornsak was one of the most famous Isan music stars, and his funeral was attended by many of his fans as well as many of the big names in the entertainment industry.

Pornsak (real name Boonsao Prachantasen) was an important and influential luk thung and molam singer. His nickname was “the man with the dragon tattoo” on account of a large tattoo on his arm. I arrived in Thailand in 1983 and began a job teaching at Chulalongkorn University in 1984, just as Pornsak was beginning his rise to prominence. I had already heard the classical luk thung sound of central Thai singers like Pumpuang Duangjan and Sayan Sanya and I was intrigued by the funky music I kept hearing on buses and tuk-tuks, which I learnt was called molam.

I asked some scholarship students from Isan what this sound was, and they not only proudly explained the music of the Northeast, they also translated lyrics for me and one of them gave me my first Pornsak cassette tape. I’ve been a fan ever since.

Pornsak was born in Khon Kaen in 1960. Like Dao Bandon, a key singer in the development of luk thung Isan in the 1970s, Pornsak did not go through a molam apprenticeship, so he had no formal training. He learnt from temple visits and from his environment. He began his career in 1981 with Suea Sam Nuek Bap, an album of luk thung Isan hits.

Luk thung Isan goes back to the early 1970s and the pioneering work of songwriter Surin Paksiri, who penned monster hits for Angkanang Khunchai (Isan Lam Ploen) and Dao Bandon (Lam Ploen Jaroenjai). Most of these songs included some Isan-Lao words in the lyrics but for the most part, molam rhythms were not included. This changed in the early 1980s as audiences tired of luk thung Isan, so artists began to look for ways to spruce up the music with more Western instruments and dance rhythms from different styles of molam. Tongmee Malai was one of the first to do this, but it was actually a song by Pimpa Pornsiri, the hugely popular Namda Mia Saud (Tears Of The Saudi Wife), that made me realise that molam was going mainstream.

Pimpa Pornsiri’s song uses the lam doen rhythm in the song (she didn’t call it luk thung molam then, she said she was performing luk thung prayuk or applied luk thung), while Tongmee Malai used the lam ploen rhythm.

But there was another funky rhythm from molam called lam toey that made its way into the luk thung world, when Pornsak released his ground-breaking studio album, (Toey) Sao Chan Kang Kop (Miss Chan’s Broken Heart) in 1986. The title track remained the favourite song of his many fans throughout his 20-year career.

His songs always get people moving. When I do a DJ set that includes Thai music, I always slip in a lam toey single from Pornsak and it never fails to fill the dancefloor. But what I really liked about Pornsak was his voice, which had a hard edge to it, not unlike Surapon Sombatcharoen’s voice on his early hits or Waipot Petchsupan in full flight. Luk thung music has its honeyed soft voices like Sayan Sanya’s beautiful pipes, but it’s the Lao-style singing of performers like Pornsak that gives me the goosebumps.

Pornsak remained at the top of his game for over a decade until the rise of new stars like Jintara Poonlarp and later Tai Orathai but his songs and albums, which included chestnuts like Phoo Phae Rak and Mee Mia Dek, are as popular today as his fans as they were back in his heyday.

There are plenty of excellent Pornsak compilations on CD and lots of uploads on YouTube. The comprehensive 2005 compilations Ruam Phleng Dang 25 Years Volumes 1-4 is well worth seeking out. Pornsak may have left us to join his ancestors on the big stage, but he has left us with a brilliant body of work that will live on.

John Clewley can be contacted at clewley.john@gmail.com.

Internet Explorer Channel Network
Asia's Tech News Daily
News Related

OTHER NEWS

Events and listings: Food deals, Jack the Ripper musical, Santa Run For Wishes 2021

SINGAPORE – Savour your hunger for food deals, catch South Korean musical Jack The Ripper, or help grant the wishes of children with critical illnesses by signing up for a ... Read more »

Some enchanted evening Le Normandie by Alain Roux marks a momentous milestone for Bangkok dining scene

There's hardly been a time when I could say with all of my heart that a meal was “beyond criticism”. The roasted Challandais duck with dukkah spice, vegetable tartlet and ... Read more »

Have a picnic in Chiang Mai

A new picnic-concept restaurant, titled Waiting For May, will open its door this Sunday at ORI9IN gourmet organic farm in Chiang Mai province. Food ORI9IN farm is a joint venture ... Read more »

Greece inspires Dior Cruise 2022 collection

For Maria Grazia Chiuri, each collection is an occasion for establishing a link between a creative project, savoir-faire, and innovation. An opportunity to build a fecund environment, like an immense ... Read more »

Golden anniversary

Award-winning Royal Oak ‘Jumbo’ Extra-Thin in a platinum case. Next year, Audemars Piguet will celebrate 50 years of the Royal Oak, the first luxury sports watch with a case made ... Read more »

Shop for a good cause at Dragonfly Holiday Bazaar

Everyone is facing the challenges of an economic downturn that emerged from the Covid-19 pandemic. The impact, however, did not spread equally. The national lockdown that introduced work from home ... Read more »

The art of gem setting Audemars Piguet goes next-level beauty with latest line of timepieces

Inspired by Marvel's most technologically-advanced nation, Wakanda, Audemars Piguet created the Black Panther edition of the Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon, which was a conversation piece when launched earlier this ... Read more »

Digital literacy key against misinformation

Hype about the metaverse or virtual world where users can interact with other avatars through headsets has been growing. While it will take years to materialise, pundits say users should ... Read more »

Breaking through the darkness Galleries' Nights teams up with the French embassy to bring art back into the spotlight

Pare Patcharapa’s solo first exhibition “Poetry Of Dead, We Are All Alone … How Ghosts Found Us”. Punsita Ritthikarn In a challenging period for arts and culture, Galleries' Nights is ... Read more »

Working towards a zero-waste world Perfect Paper is an example of businesses gearing towards the circular economy by giving second life to used materials

Sarintorn Phansopa, general manager of Perfect Paper. Perfect Paper When Sarintorn Phansopa's father started his small business collecting used paper almost five decades ago, he didn't realise he would play ... Read more »

Digital push to hit B2.5tn a year by 2030

Thailand's digital transformation could generate up to 2.5 trillion baht in annual economic value by 2030, equivalent to 16% of GDP in 2020, according to a report commissioned by Google. ... Read more »

Thai AirAsia X looking for new investors Additional funding secured for TAA

Thai AirAsia X needs a major restructuring and new investors to prep the airline to resume international routes next year, after Thai AirAsia (TAA) already secured additional funding for the ... Read more »

BCG programme to help exporters boost shipments

The Commerce Ministry has vowed to move ahead with plans to develop and promote entrepreneurs trading in bio-, circular and green (BCG) products, aiming to raise the trade value of ... Read more »

SEC drafts rules for wallet clarity

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is seeking public comments on draft regulations to establish a new licence for custodial digital asset wallet providers to ensure safe and standardised custody. ... Read more »

State vows Omicron plans in place Deputy PM confident variant can be fought

People receive Covid-19 vaccinations at the Thai-Japanese Bangkok Youth Centre on Wednesday as a preventive measure. Nutthawat Wicheanbut The government remains confident it can handle the spread of the Covid-19 Omicron ... Read more »

5G subscriptions to hit 70m by 2027

Thailand's 5G subscriptions are expected to reach 70 million by 2027, or 73% of the total subscriptions in mobile services, according to Digital Economy and Society (DES) Minister Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn. ... Read more »

CRC allots B4.5bn to buy Porto shares

Central Group is one of Grab Thailand’s shareholders, having held 40% in the firm since 2019. Somchai Poomlard Central Retail Corporation (CRC), the SET-listed retail arm of Central Group, is set ... Read more »

Vets to operate on wounded elephant

Kampon Tansacha, president of the Nong Nooch Pattaya Garden, holds a milk bottle to feed ‘Kwak Rak’, an elephant calf that was rescued after being ensnared on Monday. photo by Nong ... Read more »

Army told to secure border

The army has stepped up surveillance of the Thai-Myanmar border to prevent illegal crossings as part of the country's efforts to further suppress Covid-19. Maj Gen Banyong Thongnuam, commander of ... Read more »

Crash victim's dad fears payout delay

Buri Ram: The family of a 21-year-old car crash victim is pleading for help after facing a further delay in compensation payments and possible legal action for allegedly giving false ... Read more »

PM rules out immediate lockdown Says night venues reopening delayed

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has insisted Thailand will not reimpose an immediate national lockdown despite concerns over the new coronavirus variant Omicron. But he said the schedule for easing anti-Covid ... Read more »

Consumers' top grievance is misleading claims: poll

Over half of Thai consumers have had bad experiences purchasing goods and/or services, with exaggerated claims topping the list of their complaints in a recent poll. The Ban Somdej poll, ... Read more »

City needs better plans for welfare Policies must focus on quality of life

Chadchart: People-centred policies The government should improve the social welfare of Bangkok residents and maximise the use of urban spaces to spur economic activities, says former transport minister Chadchart Sittipunt. ... Read more »

Laos opens Chinese-built railway line Passenger services expected to begin on Saturday

Women pose next to a train during a Buddhist ceremony at Vientian Station on Thursday, one day prior to the handover ceremony of the high-speed rail project linking the Chinese ... Read more »

B1 trillion to beat Omicron Injection to cushion against volatility

Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith says the government is trying to maintain a balance between keeping the economy running and containing the virus. (Photo: Chanat Katanyu) The government will inject around ... Read more »

Baby elephant gets life-saving care after trap and shooting ordeal

A three-month-old baby elephant saved from a hunter’s trap and sent for medical treatment for its mangled right front leg and recovery process is seen in Nong Nooch Tropical Garden ... Read more »

Cambodian refugee monk fears jail if deported from Thailand

(Photo from Facebook page of คณะราษฎรเสรีไทยเพื่อสาธารณรัฐสยาม) A Cambodian monk with international refugee status said Thursday he fears he will be thrown in jail if he is deported home from Thailand. ... Read more »

Industry chiefs upbeat on outlook Post forum examines trends after Covid

“In the next year, a lot of ATMs will disappear as they will be replaced by a cashless payment system on apps. A cashless society is coming faster than ever,” ... Read more »

More creative education needed: VERSO

Cameron Fox, founding head of VERSO International School, delivers his speech during Bangkok Post’s “Unleashing the Future: a Glimpse into 2020 and Beyond” at Centara Grand & Bangkok Convention Centre ... Read more »

Bangkok bus shooter turns out to be policeman

A screenshot from a video shows a motorcyclist stopping the No.17 passenger bus before having a quarrel with its driver in Bangkok’s Bang Chan area on Nov 30. He later ... Read more »

Thailand's PR industry meets the demands of modern business and society, and the result is another year of growth

Key members of Thailand’s communications and public relations (PR) network met on 2 December 2021 for the inaugural event of the kingdom’s Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA), the first ... Read more »

Improve welfare to make city more liveable: Chatchart

Former transport minister Chatchart Sittipunt voices ideas on the development of Bangkok during Bangkok Post’s International Forum 2021 on “Unleashing the Future: A Glimpse into 2022 and Beyond” on Thursday. ... Read more »

AirAsia CEO 'bullish' on beating Omicron

AirAsia Group chief executive Tony Fernandes shares his views during Bangkok Post’s International Forum 2021 dubbed “Unleashing the Future: A Glimpse into 2022 and Beyond” on Thursday. (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb) ... Read more »

Tokyo to build on Thai ties

Yuriko Koike, Tokyo’s first woman governor, addresses the Bangkok Post International Forum 2021 on Thursday. (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb) Yuriko Koike, Tokyo's first woman governor, wants Thais to see a “new” ... Read more »

Woman arrested for bogus-soldier online romance scam

Urai Khamsaenphan, of Sa Kaeo, is served with an arrest warrant at a shopping mall in Bang Lamung district, Chon Buri, on Thursday for alleged collusion in an online romance ... Read more »

Lace up for a Very Versace holiday season

This year’s holiday campaign takes Versace’s signature glamour to the winter games. It’s bold fashion, festive must-haves, jubilant celebrations…all depicted in a wintry setting that’s as chic as it is ... Read more »

Fabulous festive hampers ready already at Zing Bakery Share your thoughtful gift-giving spirit with the help of Zing Bakery's festive hampers

Ideal for friends, family, a lucky colleague, a client you want to treat or even that special person in your life, Zing’s hampers come packed full of delicious goodies – ... Read more »

‘Nirvana' suggests homebuyers to buy a house in this good time with supports from LTV measures and low interest rates

Thailand’s property market is now improving considerably after the easing of Covid-19 crisis. This period is considered a good time for homebuyers who want to buy a house for their ... Read more »

Rooftop bar Loof closing in February, looking for new home

Loof – a play on the word “roof” – was part of a wave of bars that popped up in 2005. PHOTO: THE LO & BEHOLD GROUP SINGAPORE – Rooftop ... Read more »

You've still got one month to decide whether to change health insurer

Photo: Depositphotos.com You’ve only got a month left to decide whether or not to stick with your current health insurance provider. Maybe you you can’t be bothered, or think there ... Read more »
On free-english-test.com you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic