Laotian music is often compared with Cambodia 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 unique and fascination. One day, if you have a wonderful 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. Another reason adding to the similarity of Laos and Thailand music is that the Siamese conquered Laos around the 19th century from 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’s culture; therefore, Laos’ music also contains Mon-Khmer Soul in it.

Laos Traditional Musical Instrument - Khoean, Laos music

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 existing in 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 presenting 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 music with some Khmer words in songs.

laotian music music of laos

Laos Khene – Laotian Traditional Music

Khene is the identification of Lao culture since 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 coming in and creating the sound like the violin. There is a Laotian sentence meaning: If a person lives in a stilted house, eats sticky rice, listen 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 as 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 to support the singer or regards it as instrument ensembles.

Children in Laos playing Khene, lao music

Children in Laos playing Khene

Additionally, a Laotian traditional storytelling show Garavek featuring Khene has been very popular in Luang Prabang is an example of Laotian folk music. In the show, you will have a chance to hear about the legendary story about 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.

Laotian Traditional Music

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 tones.

Laos Folk Music

The most important feature to distinguish between Laotian classical music and Laotian Folk Music is their instruments. 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 with traditional music shows or you can see with your own eyes the local play the traditional music, which will be an unforgettable experience. So now, enjoy the show and create your Laos trip.