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Celestial Harmonies
US $25

* featured in Twin Falls Idaho Directed by Michael Polish

Ein vom Massentourismus heimgesuchtes Land kann hier in seiner Seele wahrgenommen werden. Tänzerisch-verspielt die Gamelan-Ouvertüre „The Maiden Plays in the Water“, wehmütig-still die Frauenstimme im Lullaby, frühlingshaft die Flöten, Geigen und Glöckchen des Northern Thai String Ensembles in „Pasar Wai“. Und so wechselt die Stimmung immer wieder mit Klängen, die kaum ein Tourist je hört.

the project

Imagine the inhabitants of the Menam Basin being called to dance and sing by the birds and monkeys, or imagine trying to become familiar with how the traditions of the ancient Indian and Khmer cultures developed. Elders no longer speak the story of how the Thais have lived and dreamed in their land for more than 1,000 years. However, their music does speak through its textures, rhythms and pitches.

Ancient–Contemporary Music from Thailand does not refer to the folk traditions where generations of common experience come together in a music that is obvious and necessary to all who share in that particular life style. Instead this music was created to heal the spiritual wound of either–or–ness and move toward a more humane cultural balance.

This unique balance is achieved through the freedom the musicians have to travel along the melodic path (tang in Thai). The pivotal notes are not fixed but left to the discretion of the player. It must be remembered in Siamese music there is no notational system, it is exclusively an aural tradition. This has a profound influence on the nature of the music.

The first work on the disk is a traditional second level tune dating back to the Ayudhya Period of the 15th century. The disk travels the road leading from traditional to contemporary, bringing with it the standard Western set of drums, both snare and cymbal. This music has achieved great popularity among orchestras throughout the country. Many of the compositions heard here are considered to be part of the standard classical repertoire.

the artists

Boonyong Ketkhong is considered to be one of the greatest masters of the renart or soprano xylophone. His playing has been compared to "the sound of pearls falling on a jade plate". Music compositions by Ketkhong are noted for their highly syncopated rhythms which cause his music to sound unusually modern in idiom.

Bruce Gaston appears on Ancient–Contemporary Music from Thailand as cofounder and music director of the ensemble. He is a university lecturer, composer and performer experimenting with serious music based on the combination of Thai classical instruments and compositional techniques, with electronic sounds and unorthodox approaches to the music-making process. He is recognized as an authority on Thai music.


  Disk 1:  
1 The Maiden Plays in the Water Overture 13'42"
2 Lullaby * 5'35"
3 Prasat Wai 4'20"
4 Royal Lullaby 7'42"
5 Wind in the Coconut Trees 3'18"
6 I've Lost My Chance to Be Your Husband 3'45"
7 Cherd Nai 28'09"
  Total Time: 67'04"
  Disk 2:  
1 Tra Nimitr 2'59"
2 Maha Nimitr 3'27"
3 Javanese Suite 6'36"
4 The Chinese Doctor's Puzzle 10'57"
5 The Votive Candle in Laotian style 5'05"
6 The Votive Candle in Tao form 20'22"
7 Busaba's Votive Candle 4'00"
8 The Yogin Makes A Fire Sacrifice 10'38"
  Total Time: 64'45"