Radio Asia

Rasmee Wayrana (Thailand)

29 Nov 2016, TR WARSZAWA

About the event

Rasmee Wayrana is a rising star of the Thai world music scene. She comes from Isan, a region in northeastern Thailand, where she gained popularity playing traditional molam music. She began her music career as a child, working with her father, the founder of a local Jariang Band.

After moving to Chiang Mai, an atmospheric town, famous for great coffee and its arts and crafts, Rasmee discovered a vivid music scene, dominated by jazz, funk, and R&B. Combining these genres with the traditional molam music resulted in what she called "Isan Soul" - an emotional, energetic mix based on charismatic vocals and guitar sounds.
Her debut album, "Isan Soul," and the song "Maya" won the prestigious Kom Chad Leuk Music Awards this year. The artist herself received the award for Best Singer.

The molam music Rasmee draws from, is a traditional music form from Laos and the Isan region, with very noble roots. It was a verbal-musical improvisation based on local poetry, accompanied by the sound of khene - a large, bamboo organ. The improvisation often took the form of spontaneous dialogs between a man and a woman, somehow similar to the modern freestyle.

Recently, however, molam was associated mostly with rowdy, street parties in the Thai province. The genre recovered its past splendor thanks to the visionary DJ, Maft Sai, the founder of ZudRangMa Records, and bands such as The Paradise Bangkok Molam International Band.

The contemporary molam has a set structure, and the bamboo organ was replaced by a guitar. Perhaps this is why the underrated genre is regaining popularity in its motherland, and is drawing the attention of music enthusiasts worldwide. The tactful, passionate way in which Rasmee Wayrana combines the molam she knows from her childhood with the modern, multicultural sound of Chiang Mai, is definitely worth a listen.

 

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