A slice of Thailand in Salalah

A Thai troupe comprised of four dancers and seven musicians took Salalah Tourism Festival (STF) audience to a different level of tenderness amid so many events happening in the festival ground. Soft music, elegant moves and captivating facial expressions worked like stress buster for some, while many others just got attracted towards the dais soon after the music started playing before their performances.

The troupe members were professionals from Chulalongkorn University Thai Music Ensemble, which was formed in 2001 when they were first invited to give a performance at Sufi World Music Festival in Lahore, Pakistan. The musicians and dancers are professional musicians who are pursuing study at the Department of Thai music, Faculty of Fine and Applied Arts, Chulalongkorn University.
They made a difference in the festival with their presence and performances which were true to the moods of Salalah’s monsoon season which is known commonly as Khareef.
Each night they provided a full performance of live music accompanied with folk dance from northern and northeastern Thailand. The lively and joyous beats of northern dance titled ‘Picking tea leaf’ featuring the way of life of the hill tribe inhabitants on the beautiful mountains in the northern part of Thailand.
The mountainous and splendid scenery was depicted in the music that was originally composed by Professor Pakorn Rodchangphuen, the leader of Chulalongkorn University Thai Music Ensemble.
“This piece was composed in 1977 and it became one of the most popular folk dances in Thailand since then,” said Prof Pakorn.
Troupe leader Dr Pomprapti Phoasavadi herself is a very good dancer. She teaches in the Department of Music, Chulalongkorn University. She explained the finer aspects of ‘Picking tea leaf’ dance techniques and said: “The dancers wear colourful costumes with silver necklace, brace laces and adorned with embroidery. It depicts mainly the people who are involved in tea plucking in the Interiors of Thailand.”
“Other performances here were to celebrate the joy of monsoon season in Salalah. They included traditional folk dance from northeastern part of Thailand where people also wait for rain to fall in their rice field. The northeastern part of Thailand is also an arid and dry land where water is most wanted and precious,” she said drawing a parallel between Salalah and Thailand.
Musical instruments from the northern and northeastern Thailand are made of bamboo and wood. They are the typical type of wood found in the region. The lute instrument is made of jackfruit tree. The vertical xylophone is a distinct instrument in northeastern Thailand and it is usually accompanied with a bamboo mouth organ.
“Chulalongkorn University Ensemble is thrilled to be here at the Khareef festival. We cordially invite all guests to celebrate the monsoon,” said Dr Pomprapti.

Kaushalendra Singh