Laos Music – Everything about Laotian Traditional Music

Laos Music - Everything about Laotian Traditional Music

Laotian music is often compared with Cambodia’s and Thailand’s music since they have the same Siamese origin. Above all, Laos’ music also has its own characteristics and features. It has been divided into two categories: classical and folk music. With the support of a traditional instrument: Khene, Wot, and Laos Dance, they have made up a Laotian combination of uniqueness and fascination. One day, if you have an excellent chance to go Laos tour package, let’s enjoy this special music.

laos music traditional music of laos

Origin of Laos Music

Laotian music is under the influence of many kinds of music coming from China and Thailand. Since the immigration of Tai people from Southern China to Laos and Thailand nowadays, we see Laos and Thailand share some similar features in music: they both use “Wot” as their traditional instrument in Laos and Northern Thailand.

original of laos music

Another reason adding to the similarity of Laos and Thailand music is that the Siamese conquered Laos around 19th century Thailand. If the north of Laos is affected by Chinese and Thai culture, the Southern part of Laos is under the influence of Mon-Khmer culture; therefore, Laos’ music also contains Mon-Khmer Soul in it.

Laos Music Variation from Region to Region

Traveling from the North to the South, we will encounter the variation from Luang Prabang to Vientiane and to Champassak. The remote area in Luang Prabang is where classical music exists to the highest degree and remains the oldest edition, but nowadays, it becomes harder for you to experience Laotian classical folk music unless you visit museums in Luang Prabang and see these instruments presented inside the old glass box. In Vientiane, the music is much more like Thai music with the same characteristic in music, festivals, and ceremonies. Moving further to the south in Champassak, we see the presence of Mon-Khmer in tune with some Khmer words in songs.

laotian music music of laos

Laos Khene – Laotian Traditional Music

Khene is the identification of Lao culture since, in every traditional song or dance, there’s always the presence of Khene. This instrument is a mouth organ made of 7-8 pairs of bamboo pipes that connect with a small, hollowed-out hardwood reservoir. That is where the air comes in and creates a sound like a violin. There is a Laotian sentence meaning: If a person lives in a stilted house, eats sticky rice, listens to Mor Lam or Lam Lao (Laos’music), and plays Khene, that person must be a Laotian or has some relation to Laos. Khene can be considered the national music instrument in Laos. Its usage is also variable and simple, we can choose to play it alone and enjoy the sound or use it to support the singer or regards it as instrument ensemble.

Laotian Traditional Music

Additionally, Laotian traditional storytelling shows Garavek featuring Khene has been very popular in Luang Prabang and is an example of Laotian folk music. In the show, you will have a chance to hear about the legendary story of Luang Prabang which explains the names of many famous sites in Luang Prabang, which is another way to enjoy the show and gain more knowledge about this unique land, Laos.

Laos Classical Music

Laotian classical music closely relates to the same kind of music from Siam (Siam can partly be understood as Thailand). The classical genre is divided into two types of music: Sep Nyai and Sep Noi. Sep Nyai is usually used as formal music in ceremonies and important occasions, meanwhile, Sep Noi allows you to play popular tunes.

laos classic music

Laos Folk Music

Their instruments are the most important feature to distinguish between Laotian classical music and Laotian Folk Music. Laotian folk music is one kind of extemporaneous singing with the companion of “Khene (Khane)” which is Laos’ most popular traditional instrument. Folk music is called “Lam” and Mor Lam is another version of Lam including two singers: one male and one female with a khene player and another instrument player. In another way, Mor Lam is also understood as a group of folk music singers and players.

Laos Music

Back to the past, go to Laos to dip into the traditional music of Laos which makes your soul more peaceful. A Laos trip combines traditional music shows or you can see with your own eyes the locals playing traditional music, which will be an unforgettable experience. So now, enjoy the show and create your Laos trip.