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Wong Salo So Pin

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Wong Salo So Pin
Designated in
2009
Region
Northern
Overview

Wong Salo So Pin, a term used to indicate a type of folk music and singing band of Nan Province, features two types of musical instrument: salo and pin (sueng), while so is a unique method of singing in Lanna culture.

w002Salo is the Northern Thai folk musical instrument. It is a bowed, two-string instrument. The hair of the bow passes over the strings, in similar fashion to the three-string so of the central Thai musical culture.

There are two types of Nan Province’s salo: the salo klom and the salo kop.

Salo klom is a traditional folk fiddle, similar to the two-string so of Chiang Mai Province. The differences between the two styles of salo, which also reflect the intellectual heritage of the Nan people, can be found, for example, in the ways that the tuning pegs are positioned, the coconut shell was cut, the strings are strung.

Salo kop is a fretted salo. A salo kop may have as many as 9 to 11 frets. These frets make it easier to learn and play this type of salo, particularly for the children who want to learn how to play the instrument. Pin, or Sueng, is a plucked pair-string musical instrument of the Lanna culture. It is a well-known folk musical instrument with two pairs of strings -- the upper pair and the lower pair. Pin can come in any of the three sizes -- small, medium or large. The large ones give a deep tone that is best for accompanying the so singing. So singing is the Nan people’s traditional folk singing style that is unique in its characteristics and acclaimed for its beauty. Nan-style of So singing is generally slower in tempo than the Chiang Mai-style So singing, hence the saying, a tongue-twister in Thai: “Nan people speak fast, but sing slow; while Chiang Mai people speak slow, but sing fast.”

w001Nan-style so singing has a repertoire of standard tunes that is characteristic of the style and should be preserved, learned and passed on for generations, such as the Dat Mueang Nan tune or the Long Nan tune, which dates back to the period when Nan administration center was at Pua. In addition to that there are a large number of old traditional songs that have been passed on through generations, some of which might share the same name as the traditional folk songs of other localities in the Lanna region, but Nan songs have their own specific characteristics, for example, Klom Nang Non song, Mae Mai Kom song, Mae Mai Kruea song, Tin Tum song, Tin Haep song, Lap Laeng or Lap Lae song, and Pan Fai song.

Wong Salo So Pin Folk Musical Band (“wong” means “[musical] band”) is a precious heritage of the Nan, Lanna and all the Thai people–an outstanding heritage, with distinctive characteristics that the Nan people are rightly proud of, since their ancestors have created, improved on, developed, and passed it on through generations. Nan people include music in several traditions and customs, which it has become an integral part and these traditional practices have continued until today.

Examples of prominent performers of the Salo So Pin Folk Musical Band are Pho Chailangka Khrueasaen, Pho Nannueangdi Thepphasit, and National Artist Pho Khamphai Nu-ping.

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