Juu & G. Jee [ New Luk Thung นิวลูกทุ่ง ] CD [EM1186CD]
Will be out on July 27. Pre-order welcome.
Never colonized, Thailand has remained purely itself across the years even while developing, evolving and selectively adopting international influences; the same can be said of Thai popular music, and can be clearly heard in previous releases of Thai music on EM Records. Perhaps the exception to this instinct of “pattana” (Thai for development or evolution) has been the luk thung(*1) genre, which, despite great forward leaps in the 1960s and 1970s, has been stagnant since the 1990s. New Luk Thung is here, however, as Juu and his friends update the luk thung genre with keyboards, drum machines, and samples from luk thung classics. Contemporary hip hop and trap are fused with luk thung and ramwong (*2) elements, as well as the traditional Isan/Lao instruments khaen and phin. Ex-biker Juu has been musically active since the 2000s as a respected rapper, musician and producer, relocating from Bangkok to the musically rich Isan region. His lyrics, in Thai, English, Khmer and Japanese, deal predominantly, humorously and punningly with ganja. New Luk Thung features 10 new tunes, recorded 2017-2019, produced by Juu and Young G (stillichimiya). Vocal guests include G. Jee, Chinza Dopeness, Dengaryu, MMM, Big Ben, Mr. Maro and Young-G. Songs here include a tribute to Dao Bandon’s 70s luk thung classic “Man on a Water Buffalo”, a theme song for the mystery group OMK (One Mekong), a cover of a hit from a 1977 film, and other new treats. Available on CD, vinyl and digital, with English translations of the lyrics and Soi48’s liner notes.
1) Luk thung: A musical genre whose name means ‘country person’s song’ or ‘children of the field’. The name became established in the latter half of the 1960s and now has the status of a national genre of popular song unique to Thailand. The lyrics of luk thung songs deal mainly with the rural idyll, comparisons between the city and the countryside, life in the big city and current affairs. There are certain typical traits to the music, but no official musical form.
2) Ramwong: This was a unique form of Thai dance music, which was started by the Phibun administration in 1944 with the official proclamation of the “10 Standard Ramwong Songs” as a means of promoting national pride and unity. Similar to the Japanese Bon Odori, participants form a circle and dance together, and it was very popular among the working classes. The term has two meanings. It can be used to refer to the particular style of ramwong music, in which the melody of Thai folk songs is set to a Westernized style of backing with a repetitive rhythm. However it can also be used to describe the manner of dancing, regardless of which genre of dance music is accompanying it. Main composers of this form include Benjamin, Chaloemchai Sriruecha and Suraphon Sombatcharoen.
Arranged, mixed and produced by Juu & Young-G (stillichimiya/OMK)
Khaen on “Alien on a Water Buffalo” by Ayumu Ushida
Percussions on “Niang” and “She Ley” by Kawa a.k.a Cosmo Echo
Mastering: Takuto Kuratani (Ruv Bytes)
Cover art: Shinsuke Takagi (Soi48)
Photographs: Hidetoshi Narita
Liner notes: Soi48
Japanese translation: Kaori Marui
English translation: Matthew Lane
Special thanks: Shota Kinpalla, Nikki-san, JONE500, Surin Phaksiri, Takehiko Sato, Mary Joy Recordings
01. Time 2 Yam (2ยาม)
02. Niang (เนียง)
03. La Ey La (ราห์เอ๋ยราห์)
04. She Ley (ชีเรย์)
05. Rhinjin (หน้าต่างเพื่อนบ้าน)
06. Yum Klom Thung (ยำกล่อมทุ่ง)
07. Somtam Samurai (ส้มตำซามูไร)
08. Give Me The Way (ขอทาง)
09. Alien on a Water Buffalo (เอเลี่ยนขี่หลังควาย)
10. OMK Theme (หนึ่งแม่โขง)