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Country Music Songbook - Free download as PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) or read online for free. approach was chosen because country music songs often tell a story, music and narratives have These narratives generally reinforced country music's norms. Country music and cultural industry: mediating structures in transnational media flow. Bram Dov Abramson. Rita's music is a music of hope, it's a music of.

The adoption of lukthung by middle- class audiences, pop singers, and entertainment businesses seems to suggest that the image of rusticity is no longer associated with lukthung and that the distinction of taste has disappeared.

On one level, the image of rusticity is still associated with lukthung, but it is sanitized and modernized by the way these pop singers sing the music and the ways these businesses produce it. Amid the modernity of Bangkok, confronting rootlessness at the heart of the urban center, urbanites invoke rusticity with lukthung as its model.

This ambiguous image of contemporary lukthung that is modern, on the one hand, and authentic, on the other, serves both the interests of middle-class and working-class audiences. Before taking further the analy- sis of these class interests, let us now turn to other elements that characterize the changes in contemporary lukthung. The third element in the development of lukthung in the s involves its content. The radio set cost only baht. You are a city man, you will lure me in vain.

We are not compatible. You listen to FM radio. As a city guy, you are suitable for a city girl. You only want my youth, Seduce me, then you will not return FM girls are pretty, and fair. Soon the AM girl is forgotten. The peril of falling in love with a rich girl and having to face indignities as a result was also a favorite theme of the s and s.

In contrast, city life in lukthung songs today is extolled in association with ma- terial consumption that represents things modern. Khun Lamyai 7 I never forget, keep reminding myself that you call me Lamyai.

There are so many good names—why call me Lamyai? Seriously, what is it in me that counts, my heart or my look? A guy like you, no way to get a beautiful girl like me. See, I look just like an American. I am so trendy and stylish. The singer does not want to look like a country hick. While the lyrics humorously depict a village girl adopting urban, modern styles of clothes and self-presentation, the costume and the accent weave this song into a satire.

Honey, please behold my heart. Tons of Big Bites [hotdogs], oh girl, I am so full. Yet, you never showed up. Waiting for you, taking forever, Feel like the year is over, what is it for? I waited for you until I get the flu. Honey, you blind me with no kindness. These foreign products and loanwords can be interpreted as signifiers of modernity.

The fourth element that characterizes change in contemporary lukthung music is its musical style.

Lukthung today borrows more from overseas music such as salsa, techno, rap, and hip-hop. Beats have be- come faster. Ironically, while lukthung adopts Western ideologies—a Western look, En- glish loanwords, Western products, a newly urbanized setting, and Western musical styles—treating them as than samai modern , lukthung remains closely tied to things Thai. Contemporary lukthung retains some as- pects of its original musical style, such as the incorporation of Thai musical instruments, stage performance mannerisms, and its style of singing.

Lukthung today also keeps its narrative forms, which often take the form of short stories. For example, the way luk- thung calls women e-nang, mae nue yen, and bong-orn, as these terms are often used in poetry and in the older forms of Thai literature, helps to make lukthung sound distinctively Thai. More importantly, an accompanying instrument has always doubled melodic vocal lines in older lukthung music.

This characteristic is still maintained in contemporary luk- thung. That said, however, I do not mean to suggest that there is a clear distinction between what is authentic and what is not, for such a distinction is always arbi- trary and socially constructed.

Contemporary lukthung constructs its aesthetic values through the mixture of tradition and modernity, which enables indi- viduals and groups to negotiate shared identities. My argument is thus twofold. On the one hand, lukthung reshapes itself to be modern, so that members of the audience, which is comprised mostly of rural people, rural—urban migrants, and members of the working class, can assert their new identity in a modern guise. Economic growth, the development of transportation and communica- tion technology, and the growth of the mass media have blurred the boundaries between the country and city.

Here I do not mean to suggest that lukthung in the past simply expressed resistance to the city, and that contemporary lukthung has lost its resistance and only reflects the fact that the city rules, exploits, instructs, and manipulates the village. Such a reading leads to, on one hand, a romantic view of resistance and, on the other, a rigid view of manipulation. For the past several decades, the rural poor and the working class have had to confront pervasive ideologi- cal representations of themselves as backward peasants and of their actions as insignificant or undesirable.

Lukthung lyrics show that cultural capital—en- acted in the introduction of new technologies and foreign products, attention to personal beauty through plastic surgery or highlighted hair, and the use of English—is no longer inaccessible for these working-class people. Bourdieu writes that social identity lies in the taste distinctions a person makes.

On the other hand, the images and institutionalization of authenticity in luk- thung music have been shaped by a larger cultural quest for authenticity in Thai society. For middle- and upper-class audiences, lukthung as a musical genre embodies its nostalgia for bygone lifestyles and the landscape of the country- side even when thrust into new settings.

Lukthung is authenticated through in- stitutions such as the state and industry in order to appeal to people confront- ing the rootlessness of social experience at the urban centers of the modern market economy. Here we can see that the meanings and practices of the dichotomy of tradi- tion and modernity in Thai society are not necessarily experienced in the same way by everyone. As Mills argues, in the view of members of the urban elite, scholars, and policy makers, national political and economic develop- ment has often meant too much modernity.

That is, it has brought modernity at the expense of traditional values. For these groups, incursions of modernity provoke nostalgia for an authentic Thailand, the image of which often rests on an invocation of the simpler ways of an imagined and distant peasantry and its traditional values.

Luk- thung symbolizes the image of rusticity, signified through a discourse of at- tachment to rural places and homes and, at least partially, through nostalgic glances back from the alienation of cosmopolitanism. For members of these groups, the ownership and display of new technology and foreign prod- Jirattikorn: Thai Country Music 41 Figure 2: Mike Piromporn, one of the most famous lukthung singers today, whose songs are well loved by blue-collar workers ucts are consumed and valued as symbols of modern success and social status.

In a broader sense, as Wade argues, nationalism looks two ways at once: for- ward to progressive modernity and backward to the legacy of tradition Wade , 5. The dichotomy of modernity, progress on the one hand, fear that old certainties are lost on the other, finds a clear and powerful expression in luk- thung. Bird Thongchai has survived in the Thai music industry for an astonishing twenty years, gaining new gen- erations of fans along the way.

While Bird has been successful as a pop singer over the course of two decades, he has recently turned to lukthung singing. Re- leasing his thirty-second album at the age of forty-four, Bird proved that he still is able to take Thailand by storm. This album is a melting pot of lukthung music sung in four regional dialects, North to South, Central to Northeast, blending with hip-hop and techno.

Bird speaks to all Thais, with new songs for each region The Nation, 29 November I should mention here that morlam, the musical style for which Jintara Poon- larb is known, is a traditional Northeastern style. Originally morlam was a form of local poetry set to music for religious ceremonies and festivals. Performers improvised substantially during the performance, adding humor and politi- cal messages. Transported to the city, morlam lyrics were mixed with lukthung tunes, producing the subgenre of morlam lukthung.

It can be argued that Grammy wants to capture the popularity of luk- thung, so the company remodeled Bird as a lukthung singer. They therefore put other musical elements, such as hip-hop, pop, and techno signatures, into the core of the music and invited Benedetti and English, both of whom are luk kreung figures with Caucasian looks, to appear on the album Nation Sudsapda, December 9—15, The result was a very successful album that had sold three million copies in its first six months in the market.

On this album, Bird wears Western hip-hop fashions and performs rap and techno music, but he somehow still manages to be lukthung. Two primary fac- tors in this success are the appearance of Jintara and the ways in which the songs are sung in regional dialects. The company claims that this album is such an invention, that they have cre- ated music from uniquely Thai musical elements rather than simply borrowing from the West. I want to introduce Thai music to the world and hope to pave the way for the new generation to follow.

Boy, quoted in Nation Sudsapda, December 9—15, Bird Thongchai also comments: This album asserts a scent of Thai-ness, bringing back the charm of Thai dialects to blend with modern Thai music. It is not that if the song is lukthung, you have to listen in the countryside or in the rice field.

Bird Thongchai, quoted on www.

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Let us now turn to Jonas Anderson, a farang white foreigner singing Thai country music. Anderson is blond, blue-eyed, and percent Swedish. He has also recently become a lukthung star.

As the information about Jonas given on his website reads: Jonas, although originally from Sweden, has been living in Thailand for over 10 years.

In short, Jonas considers Thailand his home. The truth is that Jonas loves Thailand with its fascinating and impressive culture. When Jonas was given the opportunity to make an album of lukthung songs, he counted it an honor and privilege. He helped with programs and projects at various institutions, such as orphanages, hospitals, and rehabilitation centers. Music is frequently used in many of these activities, and so Jonas started to learn and perform Thai songs.

These activi- ties led to his learning his first lukthung song. His website, www.

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It took a lot of practice and determination to be able to per- form the songs correctly, but Jonas was welcomed warmly by Thai audiences and has now released his third album. What then can we understand from this phenomenon? During the eco- nomic boom of the late s and early s, the music waned in popularity as Thais increasingly embraced Western dress, fast food, and pop music.

But after the financial collapse of , many Thais blamed foreigners for the meltdown, and a renewed sense of national pride took hold. Campaigns were launched urging people to buy Thai products, eat Thai food, and rediscover Thai cul- ture. The success of Anderson is engendered by a sense of both nationalism and internal exoticism.

The fact that one of the performers of lukthung is a blond foreigner only helps to strengthen the national pride of many Thais. Lukthung music now stands at an international level, as a foreigner admires and sings Thai songs. Our main purpose is to urge Thai youngsters to listen to Thai country music. Interestingly, Jonas started his career in lukthung music by covering the songs of legendary lukthung singers.

Nine out of ten songs on his first album are popular songs from the past. Compared to Bird Thongchai, Jonas did not change lukthung style in any substantial way.

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It is just his look as a blond, blue-eyed farang that changes the image of lukthung. While Jonas, as a foreigner, has to adhere to conventional styles of lukthung, Bird Thongchai, as an insider, has the authority to change the style of lukthung.

Here, we can see, the arbitrariness of the notion of authenticity is on dis- play. To some, authenticity is rooted in language, especially in regional dialects, despite those dialects being sung in a mix of hip-hop, Western pop, and luk- thung styles. The definitions of authenticity in lukthung, as in American country music and in other genres of popular music, are relational and variable, and partly derived from institu- tional arbitration Peterson Lukthung illustrates the fact that all nationalisms are hybrids.

Lukthung, when it is paired with Thai-ness, becomes a sign of the desire to be mod- ern, cosmopolitan, and Thai. Lukthung audiences align themselves through a preference for certain values and attitudes about what they believe constitute lukthung music. I am also indebted to Frank Smith and Sudarat Musikawong for reading my drafts and providing many helpful comments on them.

By the mids, there was a television set in virtually every household and, by the early s, one in more than three-quarters of rural households. In the early s, four television channels met the demand for entertainment programming by producing local dramas and importing Chinese serials from Hong Kong, and television played an important part in the circulation of music.

Three major string music companies, Grammy, RS Pro- motion, and Nititat produced their own radio and television programs.

Music video provided the platform for their in-house artists. They also set up production houses for TV dramas to promote their artists through an assembly-line system. These events were broadcast on television.

The new generation of lukthung artists was promoted through audio and visual media. Each region has its own accent and dialect.

Western scholars studying Thai popular music often argue that lukthung comes from Isaan, or northeastern Thailand, which is linked to Lao ethnicity. Most Thais recognize, however, that lukthung devel- oped out of central Thai folk traditions, and for the first two or three decades had little Isaan input. It was only with the later influx of Isaan people into the writing and pro- duction of lukthung that the music came to be associated by some with this region and its traditions.

Anake lists the thirty most popular lukthung singers in the s. All are from central Thailand. Nowadays, some but not all lukthung is sung to Lao in- struments giving it an Isaan type sound. This does not mean that the music is equivalent to the decidedly Isaan morlam or developed from morlam.

Clewley argues that many lukthung singers came from the central town of Suphanburi, and they added their own unique accent to the style, another fact well known to Thai fans of the music.

See also the discussion on morlam later in this essay. His stage was often crowded with spectacularly cos- tumed Latin musicians and energetic dancers in jaunty straw hats. The government controls three stations directly Channels 5, 9, and 11 and licenses two others Channels 3 and 7 to private companies, while ITV Independent Television , the sixth television channel, is run by a consortium of private companies.

BEC World Plc. Until recently, with the popularity of lukthung entertainment, both have invested in the lukthung business, setting up music companies for their own television and radio use. Thus, a girl might be called Nong Eve, Nong May, or the like. Bangkok: Karawak. A Reader, John Storey ed.

London: Arnold Publications. Madison: Univer- sity of Wisconsin Press. London: Routledge. Bill Haley, as noted earlier, was a western swing musician, and Elvis might have grown up in a small white enclave in Tupelos black ghetto and hung out in Memphis Beale Street, but his roots were in country.

After his handful of recordings at Sun, Elvis was signed to RCA by the labels head of the country division, Steve Sholes; was often produced by country guitarist and producer Chet Atkins with legendary country pianist Floyd Cramer occasionally on the ivories and country harmonising quartet The Jordanaires on backing vocals.

The most notable exponent of rockabilly was Carl Perkins, who was taught the guitar by bluesmen. Many of them intermittently returned to their country roots. Ray Charles recorded a whole collection of country songs. Arthur Alexander, a massive influence on The Beatles, was known for his country-soul. When he first heard Chuck Berrys Maybelline, he recalled thinking: Here is a man who likes country just as Carl loved the blues.

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Chapter 4: The Glory Years n the late s and early 60s country was in a good shape. These were the comfort years before the social upheaval of the s put into question old certainties, even in the world of country music. By now, country was no longer confined to the South. In some ways, country even influenced the English s skiffle genre, particularly via rockabilly and western swing.

In London, a young Keith Richards was obsessed with country even more than he was with the blues and his love for the genre would return with force when he became friends with Gram Parsons in the late s.

And a young Jewish songwriter from Minnesota based his sound on the folk music of Woody Guthrie who once was regarded a member of the country camp which then, just to confused matters, was called folk and the entire repository of country music. That singer caught the Zeitgeist of the s when he announced that the times were a-changing.

Country was not immune from societal shifts. Spearheading that new age was Johnny Cash, who attracted audiences well beyond the traditional country set without compromising his sound. Outspoken on social rights issues Cash recorded an album, Bitter Tears, bemoaning the treatment of Native Americans in he also performed for President Richard Nixon he refused to sing Nixons requests of right-wing songs, instead singing a defence of the counterculture which Tricky Dick so despised.

A hellraiser in classic and acceptable country mode, he also broke moral taboos such as divorcing his wife, Vivian Liberto, and then marrying June Carter which scandalised the conservative country set. Yet, Cash also represented traditional values, particularly his deeply-held, life-long Christian faith.

Cash was so mainstream that he hosted a TV show, and so alternative that he would invite acts on it who otherwise would never get an airing on TV. And Cash stood with the downtrodden, performing in prisons. It was at Cashs first jail gig, at San Quentin on January 1, , that inmate Merle Haggard decided to forego a life of crime in favour of making 24 music.

Cash was the first country singer to really provoke and then stare down the Ku Klax Klan, which once burnt a cross on his lawn. Other musical forms were influenced by country, in turn influenced country and even fused with country.

In Ray Charles released his Modern Sounds In Country And Western employing a terminology for the genre that never had currency in country circles , a collection of shrewdly selected country songs.

In the slipstream of Johnny Cash came what would become known as the Outlaw Movement, an informal response to Nashvilles easy listening, corporate and safe style, often recorded in Texas, reviving the honky tonk sounds of Hank Williams with strong lyrical content. More traditionally-minded country stars, many mentored by the great RCA producer and guitarist Chet Atkins, still broke through.

Merle Haggard, though not part of the Nashville establishment, often sang about social issues, but had his biggest success with hippie-bashing, hyper-patriotic songs such as Okie From Muskogee, which won him the greatest establishment accolade, the Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year award.

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Haggard was in fact satirising small-town values, though he didnt advertise that too loudly. Whatever the case, the counter-culture liked the song because they thought they got the joke, and those who didnt get the joke loved it because it articulated their feelings so accurately.

In that way, Okie is the first postmodern country hit. The follow-up, The Fightin Side Of Me, was more angryAmerican fodder, entrenching Haggard in the public imagination as a rightwing spokesman, a position he resented. While Haggard was actually born there, the king of Bakersfield Sound doubtless was Texas-born Buck Owens, whose long career was influential and whose names Beatles fans will recognise as the original singer of Ringos Act Naturally. He was preceded by the Ferlin Husky, an innovator and creator of some of the worst records ever made.

And Bakersfield gave rise to Gram Parsons, whose brief but eventful career continues to influence music today. And up the road, in Los Angeles, Arkansas-born Glen Campbell was enjoying great success with a slicker brand of country. The counter-culture touched country in a time of change. The Fraternity Of Man, for example, recorded the drug anthem Dont Bogart That Joint in , helping to ring in a fusion of country music and rock which would locate its spearhead in The Byrds collection of country covers, Sweetheart of the Rodeo, and which saw a member of bluegrass outfit The Dillards, Doug Dillard, record a couple of excellent duet albums with a member of The Byrds, Gene Clark.

Some of them would become stars in their own right. None maybe more so than Kris Kristofferson, a man whose early biography reads like a far-fetched penny novel. Many of the songs he is best known for were first recorded by others, sometimes several times.One might as well try to pinpoint the first piece of classical music or identify the inventor of the wheel. As the information about Jonas given on his website reads: Jonas, although originally from Sweden, has been living in Thailand for over 10 years.

But rock wanted a bit of country.

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The fiddle and banjo, for example, were initially instruments of black music, though the banjo, an African instrument brought to America by slaves, was innovated on by whites to give it its present five-string form. The rhythms whats important. Of course it is legitimate to dislike the sound of the steel guitar, the banjo, the fiddle, the mandolin or the yodel.

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