Lao Artists Lao Art
We are honored and priviledged to be partnering with masters in traditional lao art. Currently, we work with five music teachers from Laos: Salathy Yiengkang, Souliya Lao, Sengdeuan Phengkeo, Chy Her Fai By, and Sinthavong Sengmounthong. Since 2013, these teachers have been an integral part in our music education program, particularly in our summer camp programs.
Salathy Yiengkang is a professional musician at the National Center for the Performing Arts in Vientiane. Son of music master ajahn Bounmanh Yiengkang, Salathy spent his childhood listening to, and learning, music from his father. In fact, he is named after the song Salathy, which means 'horse racer'. Salathy's specialty is lanad ake, but is also well-versed in lanad toom, kim, kong wong, sor ('saw'), and drum. In July 2018, Salathy joined the LHF team by teaching at the Luang Prabang summer camp.
Souliya Lao is a professional musician at the Amantaka Hotel in Luang Prabang. He has been performing music publicly since his teenage years. Souliya's specialty is kim, but is also well-versed in piano, lanad toom, kong wong, sor ('saw'), and drum. In July 2018, Souliya joined the LHF team by teaching at the Luang Prabang summer camp.
Sengdeuan Phengkeo is a professional musician in Luang Prabang where he performs almost daily, as well as teaches private music lessons. His specialty is kim, but is also well-versed in lanad ake, lanad toom, kong wong, sor ('saw'), and drum. Furthermore, Sengdeuan has extensive knowledge of many of the oldest classical songs that are rarely played these days; he has begun to notate some of them for archival and teaching purposes; we will make them available soon. Sengdeuan taught LHF students in July 2016, when LHF held a special summer camp in Luang Prabang; Sinthavong and Chy Her were part of that teaching team as well.
Sinthavong Sengmounthong is a tenured teacher at the Lao National School of Music and Dance; he is well versed in lanad ake, lanad toom, kaen, koui, kong wong, and sor. Since 2015, Sinthavong has traveled to 12 countries in Europe, Asia, and the U.S. to represent and teach Lao classical and folk music. Chy Her Fai By is a tenured teacher at the Lao National School of Music and Dance, specializing in kim, lanad ake, sor, koui, and kong wong. Mr. Fai By is currently working on a doctorate degree in music. Both teachers have traveled to the U.S. multiple times to teach music at LHF summer camps.
For his role in cultural preservation and promotion, and unrivaled virtuoso skill on the kaen, ajahn Bounxeung was bestowed the National Heritage Fellowships Award by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) on September 28, 2016. This is the highest honor that a traditional artist can receive in the U.S.
>>more on the kaen
Thongtanh Souvannaphanh (right) began playing the saw, a bowed lute similar to the Chinese Erhu and Gaohu, at approximately the age of six. He performed in the royal court of Luang Prabang before emigrating to the U.S. in 1969. He has performed at the Kennedy Center and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. Now in his 70's and retired from broadcasting, he devotes his time to preserving and promoting Lao art, music, and literature. He gives saw instruction two nights a week and still performs occassionally. >>more on the saw
Masters Synanonh and Souvannapanh performed at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival.
We are also honored to partner with Nithakhong Somsanith whose work embodies the essence of Lao identity. He is world-renowned as master of the ancient art of gold-thread embroidery, as well as an extraordinary painter of Lao Buddhist temples, monks, ethnic tribal attire, and daily life. He is also accomplished in decorating temples with colored lacquer & gold leaves. Finally, he is masterful at ceremonial flower arrangement, such as the making of the 'pa kwan' and 'katong'. He works tirelessly to educate Lao communities in three continents on these arts to ensure that they are preserved.
By helping Laotians abroad and at home to appreciate their common heritage,
Tiao Somsanith acts as a cultural bridge between those who emigrated to Europe & America as
refugees of the Vietnam War and those who stayed behind. Through his work, he not only helps to preserve the cultural
heritage of his war-torn country, but also to promote peace,
reconciliation, and understanding.
We are also very proud to sponsor Nor Sanavongsay [http://www.nawdsign.com], an extremely talented multimedia artist whose passion is to digitally animate Lao folklore, namely the story of Xieng Mieng. Xieng Mieng is a witty fable character, well-loved by the Lao for many centuries. Though published in books in recent years, Xieng Mieng stories are usually passed down orally from generation to generation. Now, Nor's project will enrich the stories by adding sound and visual effects, thus not only preserving the stories but also making them especially appealing to the young audience.