Phleng phuea chiwit

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Phleng phuea chiwit (Thai: เพลงเพื่อชีวิต; IPA[pʰlēːŋ pʰɯ̂a tɕʰīː.wít]; lit. "songs for life") describes a type of Thai folk music, strongly influenced by elements of Western folk and rock music with a protest theme mainly centred on the hardship of working-class people. The term Phleng Phuea Chiwit (Songs for Life) came from "Art for life" or "Literature for life" that is literature on the life and society, while Phleng phuea chiwit era flourishing in the 1970s also known as "Jewel of the literature of life".[1]


Surachai "Nga" Jantimathawn, lead singer of Caravan

Phleng Phuea Chiwit originated from the events of October 14, 1973, when student and popular protests drove away the "Three Tyrants." The earliest phleng phuea chiwit band was called Caravan, and they were at the forefront of a movement for democracy. In 1976, police and right wing activists attacked students at Thammasat University; Caravan, along with other bands and activists, fled for the rural hills. There, Caravan continued playing music for local farmers. Caravan released their albums Khon Kap Khwai (Man and Buffalo, 1975) and Amerikan Antarai (American Dangerous, 1976), inspired by American protest song (such as Bob Dylan).[2][3]

In the 1980s, Phleng Phuea Chiwit combining Western folk music with an increasing influence from rock music, Latin rock and country, Phleng phuea chiwit bands and artists such as Hammer, Pongsit Kamphee, Pongthep Kradonchamnan and Carabao, that gained popularity in the 1980s when their fifth album Made in Thailand became success in 1984 and having sold over four million copies. While many artists of the 1990s influenced by other genres such as luk thung and reggae including Indochine, Kon Darn Kwean, Maleehuana, Hope Family, Noo-Miter, Jaran Manopetch, Katorn, Zu Zu and Su Boonleang. Though a rock artists influenced by Phleng phuea chiwit genre such as Palaphol Pholkongseng, Thanapol "Suea" Intharit and Sib Lor (led by Hugo).


Phleng Phuea Chiwit typically incorporates elements of Western as well as Thai folk ballads, more rhythmic Thai styles such as samcha, molam and luk thung, and occasionally elements of Thai classical music as well. More recently, elements of reggae, ska and Latin music have found their way into the genre as well. As for the instrumentation, early Phleng Phuea Chiwit was generally in a more folk style, with acoustic instruments, while later versions often more rock-style arrangements, with electric guitars, bass and drums. Many artists also use Thai instruments such as the phin, wut, khluay, and saw. Some Phleng Phuea Chiwit artists were inspired by Western musician including Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, Simon & Garfunkel and Neil Young.


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