|Stylistic origins||Thai folk and traditional music, popular music|
|Cultural origins||c. 1930s, in Thailand (the name "Luk Thung" was first coined in 1964)|
|Typical instruments||Mainly: Thai instruments, Brass instrument|
|Derivative forms||Phleng phuea chiwit|
|Phleng Thai sakol|
Luk Thung (Thai: ลูกทุ่ง; lit. "child/children of the fields") refers to the most popular form of a style of music found in Thailand. The term is short for pleng luk thung (Thai: เพลงลูกทุ่ง; lit. "song of a child of the fields").
Luk Thung songs typically reflect the hardship of everyday life among the rural poor. Tempos tend to be slow, and singers use an expressive singing style with a lot of vibrato. Comparisons are sometimes made with country music of the United States.
The form developed in the first half of the 20th century, although the term luk thung was first used in the 1960s. Ponsri Woranut and Suraphol Sombatcharoen were the genre's first big stars, incorporating influences from Latin America, Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia and, especially, American film soundtracks and country music (including yodeling). Many of the most popular early luk thung stars have come from the central city of Suphanburi, including megastar Pumpuang Duangjan, who adapted it to 1980s string (Thai pop) music by making a dance-ready form called electronic luk thung. When Pompuang died in 1992, many observers felt that luk thung would die with her. It survived, however, and with the advent of the first all luk thung radio station in 1997 soon saw a major revival.
Since the 1990s there has been much cross-fertilisation between luk thung, string and mor lam music. String artists have taken to singing luk thung songs, while luk thung singers have increasingly been promoted like pop singers, with an emphasis on youth and looks. The mor lam influence has produced a new genre called luk thung Isan or luk thung prayuk, which incorporates the faster rhythms of mor lam.
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Notable luk thung artists
- Pongsri Woranuch (active: 1950)
- Suraphol Sombatcharoen (active: 196? - 1968)
- Saeng-Suri Rungroj (active: 196? - 197?)
- Sayan Sanya (active: 1975 - 2013) (died in 2013)
- Yodrak Salakjai (active: 1975 - 2008)
- Pumpuang Duangjan (active: 1980 - 1992)
- Sunti Duangsawang (active: 198? - present)
- Got Jakrapun Arbkornburi (active: 1990 - present)
- Monsit Khomsoi (active: 1992 - present)
- Tai Orathai (active: 1999 - present)
- Jonas Anderson (active: 2000 - present)
- Christy Gibson (active: 2001 - present)
- Takkatan Cholada (active: 2003 - present)
- Yinglee Srijoomphol (active: 2009 - present)
- Petchtai Wongkamlao aka Mum Jokmok from Yasothon Province
- Tatchakorn Yeerum aka Tony Jaa from Surin Province
- Chupong Changprung aka Dan Chupong from Kalasin Province