Yesterday we learned about the Laotian and northeastern Thai form of traditional music called “Mor lam.” In the form, a singer will create an improvised song consisting of Laotian glawn poetry, interacting playfully with the audience. Improvising a song is scary! In class, though, sometimes we work up our confidence and take a leap. In this video we start with a Laotian mor lam melody, a nugget of an idea of a topic for a song, and we…try.
Tag Archives | Laos
In its most traditional form, Mor lam, from the landlocked Southeast Asian nation of Laos and the Isan region of northeastern Thailand, is a kind of a bluesy improvised poetry song. The term translates loosely as “expert song,” referring to the “expert singer,” the vocalist who is singing. Mor lam singers will have a prescribed rhythm but make up a story as the song goes along. The words of these songs often border on the bawdy, focusing on themes of love — often unrequited — and addressing the challenges of Laotian life. We particularly enjoy the mor lam performed in this video. (Note the guys playing the Laotian “free reed” khenes.)