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#TBT: Suthep Wongkamhaeng - พี่ยังรักเธอไม่คลาย (I Still Love You)

OK, so the title is probably quite loosely translated (you ain't got [all] the answers, Google) but you get the idea: it's a Thai love song.

I wouldn't say I'm all that familiar with Asian cinema, which saddens me because I've always wanted to be either South Korean or Cantonese. I tried my hand at Cantonese once actually; I never got past christening myself as 'Lian Zhang' (word of advice: unlike most European languages - Russians, y'all know I don't mean you - learning Cantonese must not be a solo mission; I literally had no clue where to start).

I am well-versed with the usual film suspects: Bruce Lee, Jet Li, Jackie Chan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Hiroyuki Sanada, Michelle Yeoh, Ken Watanabe, Kareena Kapour, SRK, Chow Yun-Fat and so on but, as you can tell, I was mostly limited to Japan, China and India. These limits - unintentionally put in place by the lack of availability at the local CD stores back in Port Harcourt - translated to the kind of music I listened to from the continent as well; something about only going where you know, you know? Foolish, but it beat the amount of research I'd have had to do on countries I knew next to nothing about. No, really; there weren't a lot of Asians in my part of town then (see: none) and the syllabuses at my school were pretty much centred on just Nigeria anyway, so everything else was up for self-study if and when you bothered to figured that out for yourself. And that was a lot of "else." What was a lazy kid with limited internet access to do?

I believe it was Shin Moon-hee and JYJ's performances at the 2011 IAAF World Championship's closing ceremony in Daegu that finally got me to start widening my reach music-wise though. And after delving into a bit of K-pop, dondang sayang* and an urtyn duu* here and there since then, today I bring you a classic 1955 luk krung* song from Thailand's Suthep Wongkamhaeng with as much blatant ignorance about Asian music as I had this time three years ago. Huzzah!

Of course, I have no idea what he's saying - for all I know, he could just as easily be wishing everyone who listens a brutal early death or swearing against our success (stereoypical Nigerian thinking right there) - but I've found it to be one of the most beautiful sounding songs I've ever heard. His soft crooning is like ear milk, and the piano-driven production is raw, emotive and mesmerizing... Although apparently, over the phone, it all sounds like uber-depressing lamenting and wailing that has made a certain sister of mine worry about my mental state.

I'll leave you to decide which side of the fence you're on, but I'm definitely a luk krung convert. For the interested parties, check out Wongkamhaeng's contemporary, Sawali Phakaphan. I believe they were in a band at one point and did an album together as well; let me know if you ever find out where to stream it online, I really want to hear it.

*I'm probably not using any of these correctly at all but I feel very cultured and what-not saying it, so sue me.

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