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Thursday, July 18, 2024

Savannakhet Students Shine at National Khaen Competition

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Two young musicians from Savannakhet have brought home top honors from the National Youth and Junior Khaen Competition, held on 22 June in Vientiane Capital. Khonmee Kingkaewsaiyalath and Anousone Saysomphong wowed the judges, securing first place in the Youth and Junior categories, respectively.

Both, Khonmee and Anousone, are students at the Training Center for Khaen Teachers, Khaen Production, and Traditional Music in Savannakhet, led by Khamsith Phommachanh.

Despite the center being established only in early June, Khamsit praised the students’ dedication as a game changer for the competition. 

“Even with limited practice time, their special technique led them to victory,” he noted.

The competition featured participants from Huaphan, Savannakhet, Salavan, Vientiane Province, and Attapeu, showcasing their abilities to play the traditional Lao instrument, the khaen. This is a musical instrument, crafted from bamboo pipes connected to a small wooden chamber. Players blow air into the chamber to produce melodic sounds.

“Khaen is an instrument to bring joy to both the player and listener. I’m passionate about learning Khaen to inherit it because it is unique and makes everyone smile and dance while playing it,” said another khaen student from Vientiane, Mangkonephet Luangrath.

With a focus on keeping this art form alive for future generations, various communities are creating educational centers to teach the khaen.

“I knew that I loved playing Khaen when I joined the Khaen workshop for students at my university. I felt it was enjoyable and wanted to keep learning it so I decided to busk at Patuxay Monument to practice,” said  Phasouthin Manisoth, a member of Khaen Lao Eoiy Toiy and a teacher at Sala Sujipuli in Vientiane. “I noticed that most of the children and teenagers don’t know about Khaen so I wanted to be part of preserving our tradition as permanent.”

The victories of Khonmee and Anousone not only demonstrate their talent but also celebrate the cultural importance of the khaen. As more young people embrace this traditional instrument, the future of Lao music looks bright, ensuring the khaen’s sounds continue to resonate with the Lao people.

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