Pumpuang Duangjan

Pumpuang Duangjan

Pompuang Duangjan (Thai พุ่มพวง ดวงจันทร์) was one of the most important luk thung vocalists in Thailand. The child of rural peasants, she first drew attention in the late '70s. Although she was illiterate, her lyrics were powerful and compelling articulations of the travails of Thailand's poor. She adapted pleng luk thung (Thai country music) into a dance-ready form known as "electronic luk thung". Her death in 1992 (at the age of 31) led many observers to believe that her music form would die out, but it persisted, and in 1997 the first all luk thung radio station came on the air, the leading edge of a major revival in the form.

Pumpuang's importance for Thai music and life is unmatched. She is the 'American Dream' in a Thai version, the girl who, with nothing else than her talent, came from the rice fields (5th child of a 12 children family) in the North to become Thailand's by far most famous and loved singer. She could convincingly sound like a young schoolgirl in love, as well as a mature woman looking back on her life. Her voice and songs remains outstanding and the frequency with which her songs are still played, one and a half decade after her death, suggest that she will be remembered far beyond any foreseeable future.

Her success in her musical career was not matched in her private life and public opinion has been tough on her 2 husbands.

Official records say that she died as result of Lupus, a non-contagious auto-immune disease. Hundreds of thousands of people came to her funeral, arguably more than for anyone else in recent Thai history. Even the Thai king came; for a peasant-born woman this was unheard of and has not been repeated.


* [http://www.phuketwatch.com/thai-music-artists/thaimusic.htm Music of Thailand]

Further reading

* " [http://www.nationmultimedia.com/search/page.arcview.php?clid=11&id=60985&usrsess= The many lives of Pumpuang] ", by Chang Noi in "The Nation (Thailand), 2002-06-10

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