Luk Thung: The Culture and Politics of Thailand’s Most Popular Music

James Leonard Mitchell

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Since the 1960s, the hybrid popular music called luk thung has embodied
the aspirations, frustrations, and sorrows of Thailand’s working class. Global
scholarship, however, has been slow in pulling back the curtain on this seminal
genre. In this pioneering book, ethnomusicologist James Mitchell traces the
history of luk thung, lays out its musical influences and characteristics, and
gives an inside view into the world of luk thung through ethnographic research
with singers, songwriters, fans, and other professionals in the entertainment
industry. Throughout this account, the author maintains a focus on the
historically overlooked region of northeastern Thailand and its intricate
connections with luk thung. This culminates in the groundbreaking final
chapter, which refutes the widespread opinion that luk thung is an apolitical
genre, not only through a close look at its high-profile role in the political
turmoil of recent years but also by tracing currents of protest and sociopolitical
commentary back to the music’s origins.
This book also includes links to many of these songs online so that readers
can hear for themselves the sounds that came to express the triumphs and
hardships of everyday working Thais
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationChiang Mai Thailand
PublisherSilkworm Books
Number of pages208
ISBN (Print)9786162151064
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2015

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