The musicians

Royal Theatre Music

The music of Phralak Phralam is played by an orchestra called Pinphat (original Khmer form). The musicians follow an oral apprenticeship for many months, because the whole ensemble must have a precise knowledge of all pieces which, long or short, follow set variations. It is not uncommon for a musician to know how to play several instruments. Now, for the preservation of this musical art form, an aid program is assisting with the transcription of these pieces.

Instrumental ensemble pinphat

The pinphat, (from Sanskrit vînâ and vadya meaning ‘musical instrument’) was and is still in particular parts of South-East Asia used for royal sacred dances and temples, where it accompanies marriage ceremonies and religious festivals, but also shadow theater and the famous Phralak Phralam theater, the Laotian version of the Râmâyana. The ensemble consists of two xylophones "ranat ek" and "ranat oum", of one or two circular sets of bulb gongs called "kong wong", a pair of big drums named "Kong Tat" and of a small double drum called "Tapon", of either "Sing" straight flute or "Khroui" cymbals, accompanied by one or two soloist singing alternately with the instrumental parts.

Mahori or Mohori  instrumental  ensemble 

The "mohori", (a word of Thai origin) is an instrumental ensemble which plays court music, separate to any ritual functions and having no other purpose than entertainment. It consists of xylophones "ranat ek" and "ranat oum", of straight viols "So I" and "So O", of one or two kong wong, one small double drums called "Tapon", and of cymbals or "Sing" and "Blood".  Often other instruments of similar origins will also be played, such as the "khim", the zither table, and transverse flute, reminiscent of Chinese music and the “mohori” Thaï band, to which their music is very close. The songs (solo or in choirs) alternate with the instrumental parts.

The Phralak Phralam Mucisians

Onh : lead vocal, soy o

Chanpeng Soudavong : female lead vocal  

Phoumy : female lead vocal

Onh Chang Soudavong : nangnat hey

Onh Sy Soudavong : nangnat houm

Khamla : soy i

Chanthy Soudavong : soy o

Vanhdy Soudavong : pat kong

Khampui : sing, soy o

Houmpanh : that phon, kong that, sing

Wathana : that phon, kong that

Khampui : that phon, kong that


The Choregrapher

Thongchan :  Choregrapher

Manivong Kathiyarath :  Choregrapher