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


One of my very favorite recording artists in Myanmar is a singer-guitar player known as Lin Lin (or sometimes spelled Linn Linn, or even Lynn Lynn). I have a couple of his albums, one of which, Sin Za Ba, is without a doubt one of my very favorite albums in any musical genre. I don’t profess to understand all of the lyrics, but the songs are bursting with melody, passion, and power. Last year when I was in Mandalay I picked up the newest recording by him, Mee Ein K’Byar, roughly translated as “Lantern Poem”. There is a woman pictured on the cover of the CD, and she apparently is the female voice who sings on several of the album’s songs too. I asked my waiter friends at Aye Myit Tar restaurant in Mandalay who this woman was and they knew right away: she is Chit Thu Wai, a talented singer who also happens to be Lin Lin’s wife. Once again, Lin Lin has written another memorable batch of tuneful songs. I like the addition of Chit Thu Wai’s vocals on this album too. She has a very pleasant voice, one that meshes well with Lin Lin’s own expressive vocals. In addition to Lin Lin’s deft guitar playing, there are more piano parts on this new album. Clearly, this is a match made of passion and harmony.


Meanwhile, back in Bangkok, amidst the droves of idiots who are dazed and mesmerized by their “smart” phones, here are the other most excellent CDs that are keeping me sane lately:


Hailu Mergia and the Wallas – Tche Belew

Ron Sexsmith – Whereabouts

Various Artists – Look to the Wind: Johnny Cash’s Bitter Tears Revisited

Johnny Hammond Smith – Gamblers’ Life

Ryan Adams – Ryan Adams



Isley meets Bacharach – Here I Am

Wilton Felder – We All Have a Star/Inherit the Wind

Caribou – Our Love

Royksopp – Junior

Isaac Hayes – Presenting Isaac Hayes


Jerry Williams _Gone

Jerry Williams – Gone

Various Artists – Love and Jealousy: The Deeper Side of Southern Soul

Deep Purple – Come Taste the Band (35th Anniversary Edition)

Various Artists – Tommy Guerrero: Another Late Night

Bembeya Jazz National – Classic Titles



George Jackson and Dan Greer – At Goldwax

Gato Barbieri – Bolivia

Various Artists – MGMT: Late Night Tales

Mark Ronson – Uptown Special

Brinsley Schwartz – Nervous on the Road/The New Favourites



J. Mascis – Tied To a Star

Gary Bartz – Harlem Bush Music/Taifa/Uhuru

Durutti Column – LC (Expanded Edition)

Curtis Mayfield – We Come in Peace with a Message of Love/Take It To the Streets

Fitz and the Tantrums – More Than Just a Dream



Burning Spear – Marcus Garvey/Garvey’s Ghost

The Fatback Band – Let’s Do It Again

Sister Sledge – The Definitive Groove Collection

Marc Cohn – The Very Best

Elbow – Seldom Seen Kid


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