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Communities of ImaginationContemporary Southeast Asian Theatres$
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Catherine Diamond

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780824835842

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824835842.001.0001

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From Fa Ngoum to Hip-Hop Boom

From Fa Ngoum to Hip-Hop Boom

The Faces of Lao Performance

Chapter 8 From Fa Ngoum to Hip-Hop Boom
Communities of Imagination

Catherine Diamond

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines how Lao national history before the twentieth century focuses on two pivotal events: unification and expansion under the Khmer-backed Fa Ngoum, and destruction by Siam after Chao Anouvong's defeat. Current Lao–Thai relations is evident in the fact that modern Thai culture is known to the Lao public primarily through popular Thai serial dramas on Lao television. Outside the capital, the performing arts in the border regions have mutually influenced each other as the people share the same dialects and customs. In the Isaan area of northeast Thailand, Thai and Lao cultures mix in the instrumental music, singing, and storytelling of the performance genre known as molam. The chapter illustrates how the current state of Lao performing arts reflects its long-standing ambivalence toward its western neighbor, and its official friendliness with its eastern one.

Keywords:   Lao performing arts, Fa Ngoum, Chao Anouvong, Lao–Thai relations, modern Thai culture, Lao television, molam

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