Filed under: Thailand
Anyone who picked up the first volume of Subliminal Sound’s Thai Beat A Go Go compilation, was most likely amazed at the wild and crazy sounds coming out of their speakers. The first track entitled “Kratae” by Johnny Guitar is truly unlike anything Western ears had heard before.
Just one problem… That song is not “Kratae”, and the artist who recorded it was not Johnny Guitar. The song is “Klong Yao”, and it was recorded by Payong Mukda, also known as Pocket Music. In addition, he has recorded under the name Son of P. M.
The music of Payong Mukda, as well as Noparatana Tipayaosot (a. k. a. Johnny Guitar), was known as “Shadow Music”. The term was in reference to the British instrumental band The Shadows, who were quite popular throughout all of Asia. Recordings of this music were often billed as “Thai Modernized Music“, taking classic Thai compositions and mxing in elements of surf guitar, a-go-go music and other styles to create an entirely new form of music. Sublime Frequencies “Shadow Music of Thailand” compilation features tunes by P.M. Pocket Music, The Son of P.M., P.M.7, Johnny Guitar and Jupiter.
In 1991, Payong Mukda was honored with the National Artist award which is presented by the Office of the National Culture Commission in Ministry of Culture of Thailand. Here is a brief biography from their website:
Lieutenant Commander Payong Mukda was born in Ratchburi Province. He was an artist who composed more than one thousand country songs, popular songs, and modern-songs as well as influencing a number of new singers. He was awarded Golden Record Awards for his musical compositions for three years in a row. Apart from writing music and lyrics, he was also a singer who sang humorous songs and owned a band called Pocket Music. Regarded as a pillar of musical circles, he was invited to perform for the general public at the Or. Sor. Station, Chitrlada Palace. He was also one of the founders of a number of associations such as the Musicians Association of Thailand under the Royal Patronage of His Majesty the King. He was a musician who could portray the messages in his music, and he liked to offer consultation and guidance to music lovers. Besides this, his songs were beautifully crafted, both in terms of language and meaning, with valuable ethical and moral messages closely intertwined. As such, he was considered a role model for people who fought through life with perseverance as well as being a master of the Thai music industry.
While researching information about Payong Mukda, I came across this strange news article from June 1st, 1999:
On World No-Smoking Day, anti-smoking advocates proved that cigarettes can be hazardous to your health. Their huge mock cigarette stuffed with hydrogen-filled balloons accidentally caught fire and exploded in a sheet of flame. No one among the two dozen or so celebrities and activists standing next to the cigarette was seriously hurt — although there were were several singed eyebrows and hair. Payong Mukda touched off the three-second inferno. The popular singer was supposed to cut the 10-metre cigarette with a sword. As he hacked at the stubborn smoke, flames suddenly shot five metres into the air.
Catalog number 3 on Rosana Records of Bangkok, Thailand. No release date given.