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

Khun Narin’s Electric Phin Band is one of those amazing discoveries that just make you say “Wow” … and then want to kick off your shoes and dance!

My Bangkok friend and fellow music junkie, John Clewley, turned me on to this CD recently and I can’t thank him enough. This stuff rocks … or maybe “reels” is a more apt description. The seven tracks on this CD are all instrumentals and all of them are lively, hip-shaking compositions, a vivacious blend of upcountry Thai music that is both intoxicating and invigorating. If you are familiar with the style of Thai folk music known as “Molam” this stuff is pretty much in the same vein, although even more electric and frenetic, if you can imagine that. Actually, the band calls the style of what they play Phin Prayuk. The “phin” in both that name and the name of the band comes from the name of the 3-stringed instrument (or Lute) that you hear on all of these songs, a very distinctive and hypnotic sound indeed. And yes indeed, this stuff will get you dancing in no time at all!

In the bio for the band on the label’s website (Innovative Leisure dot com) they note that the main phin player uses a string of Boss effects pedals, including a phaser, plus distortion and digital delay to get this distinctive sound. The band also built their own custom P.A. system to help capture the essence of the group and their sound. I can just picture these guys setting up in the village and blasting away. Then again, you CAN see them in action via YouTube and the label’s website. There are four videos of the band posted the label’s website. Video number three, a 9-minute reel showing exuberant villagers dancing in the street, is particularly fun. Man, these guys ARE the party!


By the way, in the new issue of Mojo music magazine, in their year-end roundup of the best albums of the year, Khun Narin’s Electric Phin Band made the Top 10 on the World Music list. Congratulations you guys!


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