The Conservation and Development of Isan Long-Drum Performances to Promote Local Culture

Yutthasilp Chuthawichit, Boonsom Yodmalee, Suwimon Poklin

Abstract


Problem Statement: An Isan long-drum performance is a tradition inherited from ancestors and has an important role in Thai society. Due to outside influence, the tradition has been changed; people failed to keep their ethnic and cultural identity. Despite some development of concepts, a lack of understanding in the art decreased the value of performances to a large extent. The objectives of the study were to examine the historical background and composition of Isan long-drum performances; the current circumstances and problems of Isan long-drum performances; and conservation and development model of Isan long-drum performances to promote local culture. Approach: The study was conducted during August, 2009 to October, 2011 and in four provinces: Maha Sarakham, Roi Et, Yasothon, and Ubon Ratchatani. Twelve drum bands were chosen purposively for the study, three for each Province. There were 162 samples. The research tools used were a basic survey observations, and interviews. The analysis was done descriptively. The results were as follows:The research found that the historical background and compositions of Isan long drum performances were related to drum performances in Myanmar and Laos. The music and its compositions in the given countries were similar. In Thailand, drum performances were and still are performed in the North, Central, and Isan or Northeast. In the past, such performances were done only during religious ceremonies. However, it was not clearly know where the performances were originated. It was clear that they were passed down from previous generations.Upon current circumstances and problems of drum performances in Isan, the study found that the bordies of the long-drum were made of jackfruit or Samanea saman (Cham Churi trees) wood because of its light weight and the good sound they made. Unfortunately, the given trees were decreased because of home furniture market. The long drum groups had time for rehearsals after dinners. There were attempts to keep long drum traditional rhythms and songs. For maintaining Isan long-drum performances, support funding was needed.For development of Isan long-drum performances to promote local culture and drums, each of the four long drum groups had more drums than they did in the past, such as an electric organ, bass, and three-drum sets. The music and songs played were traditional Thai music with faster rhythms, folk songs, and country music.


Full Text: PDF DOI: 10.5539/ach.v6n2p191

Asian Culture and History   ISSN 1916-9655(Print)   ISSN 1916-9663 (Online)

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