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the Thai jakae
August 17, 2012 8:49 PM   Subscribe

I just stumbled upon some Thai music performed on an instrument I hadn't heard of until just now. But the curious machine-gun rhythm patterns are kinda rocking my world. It was uploaded to YT yesterday, and at the moment has a big FIVE views. And I think two of those are mine. Anyway, here it is: เดี่ยวจะเข้ [ Jakae solo ] : ครูทองดี สุจริตกุล [ Khru Thong-dee Sucharitkul ]. Now, here's another, apparently by the same lady. She's got a seriously percussive, take-no-prisoners approach to the instrument. But in neither of those clips do we see the instrument being played. So I looked around some more, and found this one, and though this guy's style is not quite as, um, *punk*, it's still pretty badass, and you get the visual idea of what the instrument is all about, not to mention the all-important twin-percussion backing. Hope you enjoy this little glimpse into the world of the Thai jakae.
posted by flapjax at midnite (26 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oh, and check this out: a very different-looking version (shaped like an alligator!) and played in a rather different style and mood altogether (although there's only a 33-second sound clip, dammit!). Perhaps this one is perhaps an *earlier* (original?) version of the instrument? Anyway, worth a look and listen, for sure: the Jakae (Kabue) from the Mahori khamen ensemble.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:55 PM on August 17, 2012


This is great. I can't wait to get to some good speakers where I can get more out of it. Thanks for posting it.
posted by The World Famous at 9:22 PM on August 17, 2012


Whoa that is intense. I'd never heard of that instrument before, either, but it's definitely going on my list of instruments to learn more about.
posted by winna at 9:26 PM on August 17, 2012


The pics of the first lady make it look like a Japanese koto. A lot of the notes are, to my ear, flat, and I wondered why she didn't bend them up just a smidge. But maybe my ears are sharp. (To be fair, a lot of my favorite band Soul Coughing sounds a tad flat to me too, but flat in a good way.)

Interesting find; I always wonder when the bubblegum-pop sensibility will take over all recording, but perhaps people will always find a way to memorialize sound, regardless of its short-term financial prospects.
posted by spacewrench at 9:45 PM on August 17, 2012


Without disputing the quality of this fpp... Why is Flapax the only one around here who gets to write blog posts?
posted by cmoj at 9:54 PM on August 17, 2012


Looks and sounds like a koto.
posted by charlie don't surf at 9:59 PM on August 17, 2012


Looks and sounds like a koto.

Actually, no.

Jakae: 3 strings
Koto: 13 to 21 strings

Jakae: fixed frets for all three strings
Koto: individual movable bridges for each string

Jakae: fairly edgy, brittle sound
Koto: generally mellow, more delicate sound
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:20 PM on August 17, 2012


Why is Flapax the only one around here who gets to write blog posts?

After reading your question, I reread the text of the FPP. Two things struck me. First, until you mentioned it, I didn't even notice the first person narrative that usually bugs the shit out of me when I see it in FPPs. Second, this post embodies the spirit of "I found some cool shit on the web and want to share it with all of you" that Metafilter is supposed to be about.

Maybe lighten up and enjoy the machine gun rhythms?
posted by A dead Quaker at 10:27 PM on August 17, 2012 [6 favorites]


Not really what I expected for something described as "world rocking" "machine gun like" "take no prisoners" and "*punk*".
posted by delmoi at 10:58 PM on August 17, 2012


Not really what I expected for something described as "world rocking" "machine gun like" "take no prisoners" and "*punk*".

Delmoi, I do my best to widen people's aural horizons a wee bit, when I can, but, yeah, some folks just really need an electric guitar to be part of the equation, I guess, when terms like those are used. At any rate, different strokes for different folks! Different plucks for different Chucks! Different... ah, that's enough.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 11:10 PM on August 17, 2012


FPP, blog post - same same, but different!

For total Thai awesomeness, check out The Sound Of Siam (Leftfield Luk Thung, Jazz & Molam In Thailand 1964-1975).
posted by obiwanwasabi at 11:42 PM on August 17, 2012


I imagine this being an influence on modern Thai music because it sounds great.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 1:15 AM on August 18, 2012


Flapjax Personal Posts are treated differently
posted by iotic at 2:06 AM on August 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is nuthin'. There's a certain poise and elegance you have to strike, a je ne sais quoi that is possessed by few. Also, sacrifice a goat to the FPFPP gods.
posted by XMLicious at 3:08 AM on August 18, 2012


Why is Flapax the only one around here who gets to write blog posts?

because he fucking rules, that's why
posted by pyramid termite at 4:48 AM on August 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


The stringed instrument reminds me of a sitar and the drums remind me of tablas.
posted by cropshy at 4:48 AM on August 18, 2012


nice, reminds me of dick dale for some reason.
posted by sgt.serenity at 5:45 AM on August 18, 2012


nice, reminds me of dick dale for some reason.

The machine gun riffage! And, speaking of which...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:48 AM on August 18, 2012


Fantastic, full of blood and bone and grit.
posted by Wolof at 6:28 AM on August 18, 2012


Just three strings? How do they make that machine-gun playing style?
Sounds like a mandolin to me -- are those jakae strings doubles?
posted by Rash at 8:54 AM on August 18, 2012


How do they make that machine-gun playing style?

Fast wrists! Far as I can tell, those strings aren't doubled like a mandolin: the photos I've seen just show three tuning pegs.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:57 AM on August 18, 2012


>Looks and sounds like a koto.

Actually, no.

Jakae: 3 strings
Koto: 13 to 21 strings..


I didn't say it looks and sounds exactly like a koto. But the resemblance is there, I'm sure you see it.
posted by charlie don't surf at 9:37 AM on August 18, 2012


But the resemblance is there, I'm sure you see it.

They're pretty distinctly different, as I pointed out, but, yeah, I mean... OK. They both have strings. I'll give you that.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:50 AM on August 18, 2012


Oh come on, you see the horizontal strings with individually placed bridges for each string. That particular configuration is a pretty distinctive feature of the koto and other related instruments common to Asian music.
posted by charlie don't surf at 11:42 AM on August 18, 2012


charlie don't surf, bless your heart, do you just like to argue so much that you can't be bothered to do the most basic of reading and looking at the links before you make your points? It's clear in my comment as well as in the most cursory glance at the photos I linked to that the jakae DOESN'T have the individually placed bridges for each string that you mention, and that the koto DOES.

I mean, yeesh, man, this is getting sad, really. I'm starting to get embarrassed for you here. Do yourself a favor: look at the links and read the comments carefully if you want to be taken seriously, if you want to be a part of the conversation. If you don't, then reading and responding to your willfully uninformed comments just becomes a waste of time, honestly!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:21 PM on August 18, 2012


Oh, I see it now. Those bridge-like things are frets. Well jeez, you could just assume I'm trying to understand the instrument, instead of assuming I'm argumentative for no reason.
posted by charlie don't surf at 8:20 AM on August 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


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