musings on music, travel, books, and life from Southeast Asia

The Motorcycle Concerts


Some of the guys from the neighborhood motorcycle taxi stand continue to drop by my apartment once every week or so to listen to music, drink beer, and chat. About two weeks ago, one of the guys, Noy, was bemoaning the fact that his old acoustic guitar was now rendered all but unplayable, having been battered by termites and a cracked neck. If there is something I appreciate, it’s an aspiring musician, so, before he left that night I slipped him some money and told him to use it to buy a new guitar. It wasn’t a huge amount of money, but enough to buy a decent secondhand acoustic guitar. He looked shocked when I handed him the money, but thanked me and told me that he’d bring the guitar by to show me after he purchased it. He had already been eyeing a model for sale in a nearby pawnshop and saving his wages, he said, so the extra money should seal the deal.


Over a week went by and I didn’t see or hear from him or any of the other drivers that usually come over. I thought that perhaps he had ended up using the money for something else and was perhaps ashamed to show up without a guitar. Hey, I understand, life interrupts and things happen. Then, last Friday night Noy called up and asked if I was free that night. Sure, I told him, come over anytime after nine. When I opened the door, Noy was standing there with guitar in his hand and a big smile on his face, and in his wake was another motorcycle guy, Nat, and he also was carrying an acoustic guitar!


The two guys sat down and proceeded to launch into a repertoire of pleng puea cheewit (“Music for Life”) standards, mostly songs by Pongsit Kampee. Okay, they’re my friends and I may be biased, but I was pretty impressed by their playing ability. Noy is quite adept at picking out some tricky chords and Nat showed that he could play well too, plus he has a very pleasant singing voice. At one point in the “concert” Noy asked if I could take a video of them with my camera. After I filmed them, I downloaded it onto my computer and Noy in turn posted it on his Facebook page. Ah, this brave new world!


Playing covers is one thing, of course, but now I’ll be curious to see if Noy and Nat are inspired to start writing their own material. I’ll be eager to hear the next installment in the motorcycle concerts!


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