Bunpheng Faiphiuchai’s 89th Birthday
Date: September 22, 2021
For those looking to understand the heritage of Thailand’s northeastern Isan region—the nation’s largest territory that is home to over 22 million people—no other artistic phenomenon reflects its identity more than the poetic style of folk music known as Mo Lam. Today’s Doodle celebrates the 89th birthday of the Thai singer crowned the “Queen of Mo Lam,” Bunpheng Faiphiuchai.
Born on this day in 1932 in Ubon Ratchathani Province of Isan, Thailand, Bunpheng Faiphiuchai began performing Mo Lam at a young age. Mo Lam performances were uncomplicated during this era—one male and one female vocalist brought stories from Isan literature to life by holding a musical “debate” accompanied by the rhythmic sounds of the khaen (a bamboo mouth organ depicted in the Doodle artwork).
After years of training, Faiphiuchai became known for her witty philosophical responses to her male counterparts and soon landed a job as a Mo Lam performer. By 1955, Faiphiuchai recorded more full-length albums than any other woman in the genre. She complemented her illustrious singing career with philanthropic endeavors such as promoting infectious disease prevention, environmental initiatives, and other forms of Thai performance art.
Faiphiuchai was named a Thai National Artist in 1997 for her outstanding cultural contributions and passed down this unique Mo Lam expertise to numerous students throughout her life. Today, many of her pupils are well-known performers of Mo Lam which remains a foundational aspect of Thailand’s rich cultural heritage.
Happy Birthday, Bunpheng Faiphiuchai! Thank you for fostering the next generation of Mo Lam performers!
Tags: folk songs, singer, artist, Mho Lam, Thailand, Music, performing arts