Radiodiffusion Internasionaal Annexe

သိန်းတန် (မြန်မာပြည်)
October 17, 2021, 1:00 am
Filed under: Burma

Khaing Pann Sone / ခိုင်ပန်းစုံ

I was digging through an old box I had forgotten about and stumbled upon this cassette I had picked up in Singapore back in ’09. There was a post-it note on the case that said “A2 – Rocker”. So, I popped in the tape deck and gave it a listen. I had forgotten just how crazy this track is.

Thein Tan was born in Inn Wa / အင်းဝမြို့; on December 14, 1945. He was the 6th of 13 children, and the only member of his family to have an interest in music. He was apparently inspired after seeing Elvis in the film King Creole. His first band was called The Shades – possibly in reference to The Shadows – with Khin Nyo. After that, he started singing songs with Playboy Than Naing’s Playboy Group, and the first song he sang was “Manaw Hla Pan Maung Chit Thu” written by Zaw Min Lay. In 1979, he formed his own band, L.P.J – Love, Peace & Joy.

Many thanks to the amazing Peter Doolan of Monrakplenthai for translation and for most of the information about this record. I’m starting to suspect that he might have a Babel Fish in his ear…

Released by Soe San Recording / စိုးစံအသံကူးလုပ်ငန်း. No catalog number or release date listed.

February 5, 2011, 9:26 pm
Filed under: Burma

Salt Bottle and The Three Mangosteens [side one]

Salt Bottle and The Three Mangosteens [side two]

When most people think of radio dramas, black and white images of families sitting around a huge old radio come to mind. In regions were televisions were not readily available and movie theaters were few and far between, these programs were the main source of entertainment – outside of music. But whereas their production here in the States has just about become non-existent, they still are produced in many other countries across the globe to this day.

In Burma, one of the most popular characters was, and still is, detective “SarPalin” Hnin Maung – who was created by Min Thain Kha / မင်းသိင်္. The detective was given the nickname “SarPalin” – meaning “Salt Bottle” – because it was essential that he be assigned to every case to solve as salt is essential to every dish to make it taste right. The character has been featured not only in radio dramas, but also in books and at least one film.

Many thanks to Ni Ni Aye for the information and translation.

Catalog number and label unknown.

Warning: These tracks have been converted to mono to reduce the file size, but are still quite large and may take some time to download.

Accordion Own Kyaw
July 10, 2010, 8:23 pm
Filed under: Burma

Seinn Leh Meay Hlwa

The Golden Triangle is one of the Asian continent‘s two main opium-producing areas. It is an area that overlaps the mountains of four countries of Southeast Asia: Burma (Myanmar), Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. Along with Afghanistan and Pakistan in the Golden Crescent, it has been one of the most extensive opium-producing areas of the world since the 1920s. Most of the world’s heroin came from the Golden Triangle until the early 21st century when Afghanistan became the world’s largest producer.

With the exception of Thailand – where records apparently grow on trees – finding vinyl in the other three countries is not that easy. For the former French Indochina countries – Laos and Vietnam (as well as neighboring Cambodia) – the wars and eventual spread of Communism led to the destruction of any recordings that were influenced by Western music. But for Burma, it was a different story altogether.

For the most part, there were no recordings available from Burma between the demise of the 78 format – which for parts of Asia were still produced well into the 60s – until cassettes came along in the 70s. Somehow, the country managed to skip the LP format entirely and 45 singles are extremely rare.

There is no information available for Accordion Own Kyaw. The song’s title Seinn Leh Meay Hlwa translates as “Greenish Colored Soil”. If you have any further information, please contact me or leave a comment.

Many thanks to Ni Ni Aye for translating the Burmese.

Catalog number HRC-008 / EX-2370 on Hinn Tha Ta Rice Dealer Limited of Burma. No other information available.

The Aces
November 15, 2009, 7:58 am
Filed under: Burma

♬  title in Burmese

To: Mack Hagood
Subject: The Burmese Enclave

So we went to the Peninsula Plaza. We had read that there is a Burmese restaurant there, and a few shops near by… What we found was a bit more.

Peninsula Plaza is essentially a five story shopping mall. But I would say that more than half the shops / internet cafes / restaurants were Burmese. Apparently this is THE place for Burmese people to hang out in Singapore. So the place was PACKED. And they were all looking at the tall white guy and his pasty female companion wondering what the hell they were doing there.

Most of the shops had food items and textiles, plus a lot of books and weird little homemade looking prayer cards (or, at least that’s what I think they are since they have pictures of either monks or Buddha on them). A number of the shops had a desk up front with a stack of leaves, with a mortar and pestle with some kind of white paste. At first I thought maybe it was Betel nut leaves… But now that I’ve looked up what those look like, that wasn’t it. Any idea what’s going on?

A few of the shops had CDs and cassettes. One place had just stacks of tapes. I dug thru them for a while, and had to stop myself. I could have easily been there all day. And since I don’t know Burmese, I’m just going by cover art. But I got six tapes for S$10.

After that, we went to the restaurant we saw online. It’s called Inle ( Even though it looks kinda fancy (i.e. “tourist-y”), most of the patrons were Burmese. Actually, there was a wedding reception in half of the place, and I noticed that some people had a different menu than what we got that was entirely in Burmese (and no pictures of the food). I always figured that the country between Thailand and India would have amazing food. And I was right. The food was great.

10:58 AM, May 17th, 2009

I wish I had written down the name of that shop…

Catalog number and label unknown.

March 21, 2009, 8:38 pm
Filed under: Burma

Flower With Only a Night Time Scent

Don’t Play With Fire




This week’s post is the first in a series of guest posts. I recently came to the realization, that if there was ever going to be a post on the music of Burma, I would have to turn to Alan Bishop. Alan is best known as one third of the Sun City Girls and co-founder of Sublime Frequencies. Also, this post is the first to feature music from cassette.

After hunting all over Myanmar (Burma) during my many trips there, I’ve never come face to face with a Burmese vinyl LP. Nor have I heard of one or seen a photo of one. I also have a feeling there were few 45s although I have two children’s song recordings on 7” vinyl. Every Burmese musician or music fan I have ever spoken to claim LPs and 45’s didn’t exist between the 78 and cassette formats. Since Burma’s independence in the late 1940’s, the government has kept a fair distance from the rest of the International community and the regime discouraged western-influenced music until things loosened up a bit in the 1970’s. During the 1960’s, the local music scene wouldn’t have been allowed to work above ground as a “western-styled” record producing pop industry and it’s a truly sketchy period with hardly a spec of info. I’ve searched far and wide for anything coherent from the 1960’s and come up frustrated thus far. There are tales about how reel to reel tapes were transferred to cassette for sale in the early 1970’s. The kids would go to the shop and choose specific songs and the shop would dub a custom cassette from reels and charge accordingly per track. And the reels were apparently from copies of the master studio reels from popular groups at the time. One of the most popular, the Playboy Group, was a Burmese rock band formed in the early 1970’s by guitarist/vocalist Than Naing (often referred to as “Playboy Than Naing”) Other members of the group included Ko Kyaw Min (guitar), Ko Kyaw Naing (bass), Zaw Win Shein (drums), Tin Oo Thaung (keyboards) and Than Naing’s wife Pearl (vocalist). The band specialized in western-styled cover songs and helped turn on Burmese society to a wide variety of foreign artists including The Beatles, The Doors, CCR, The Youngbloods, and many others. The band was active into the 1980’s and recorded many cassette-only releases during their career. A few years ago, they reformed and began recording and performing again. Than Naing now owns a construction company in Yangon and in 2005, became committee secretary for the newly founded Myanmar Music Association.

burmese_bk1 / “Flower With Only a Night Time Scent” – This track is Than Naing’s clever way of describing a prostitute. He sings the story of a woman (flower) who is only sweet to him in the evenings (has a night time scent only).

Alan Bishop (March 2009)


No catalog number, record label or release date listed. Distributed by Tapyi Thu A Twat of Myanmar.