Back in 2013, an unnoticed band of Isan folk music, Sinsai, from KKU made its way to the winner of Queen Sirikit’s Trophy on the national folk music band completion held by The Department of Physical Education and The Ministry of Tourism and Sports of Thailand. Never before had the band been publically recognized until its legendary winning of many awards in that national competition including; The best performer of Isan Saw (violin-liked instrument), The best narration of Isan Life, and the Best Performer of GupGap (making rhythm out of woods tapping). Being the one and only band that reaped for the most number of the awards offered in that national folk music competition has paved way for the remembrance of Sinsai’s name.
Now it has been 6 years since Sinsai has been grown and reaped many other rewards while representing the beauty of Isan cultures to the eyes of international audiences in 6 different countries as its duty as the cultural ambassador. The band has been cultivated by KKU’s Faculty of Fine and Applied Arts’ Department of Music and Performing Arts.
It is challenging to reach a status as a top folk music band and to maintain its ranking is even more difficult because the band is more like a classroom in which its students are coming and going after years and years of education endings. Effective training, band managing and finding the right performers to inherit the band must be carefully crafted to ensure the passing down of the band’s quality.
Mr. Vichit Pakdeerat, a teacher in KKU Department of Music and Folk Culture Performance and band’s trainer, said Sinsai is band that combines the beauty of Isan cultures into a fun presentation. All the performers are the students, therefore, joining the band is like attending a practical music classroom that is suffice for preparing them to be professional performers. The band has brought reputation to KKU and the department is proud of Sinsai name. The band units students from different majors including those studying in folk music, performing arts, and Molum. Since the band symbolizes unity and harmony, all of the students enrolling at these three majors are said to be members of Sinsai family. Through the four-year course, the students in the band are trained to sing, dance and to manage the band to get them ready for being a good performer. In May, the 8th batch of the band performed their final performance project under the name, Poom Sinsai 8” at KKU Golden Jubilee Hall. The performance was stunning for all the audiences. So far, the department has produced 8 batches of students and it is now cultivating year 1 to year 4 students into the performing world.
“All of the Sinsai’s shows are unique since they are created by the students with the combination of the western instrument to make the music fun and up to date. The performers are professional. Having been placed on heavy schedules of both studying and training, the students must have high self-discipline while the teachers have to pay close attention to this matter to make sure that the students can get through with it.” Said Mr. Wichit.
The band is regularly invited for many events and the students get paid from their performance. It helps students and the department to gain some income, even though it is quite small revenue but enough to reduce some charge that the students’ families have to pay.
Mr. Siriya Chomphoo, a senior student and main performer and singer of Sinsai Band said he had been so intimated with the band and learnt a great deal from it. He could make some money while studying which was enough for his education. He hopes that he will be able to erect his own Molum band.
“I have learnt a lot of things from the course and the band. It makes me feel confident while learning to work with other people. I am confident that I can keep walking into a performance path.” Said Suriya.
The revenue recurring from the band is also used for other projects such as hiring specialist to give training on the art of performance, test administration cost and instrument maintenance. Moreover, the students are subsidized by the money from the band to do voluntary activities for the public such as running developmental camp and giving a free concert to the prisoners.
Mr. Wichit Pakdeerat said “As a teacher, the most valuable award to the teaching job is to see the students success in life and be able to give community some support. This value is imprinted in every heart of Sinsai family. The faculties are proud to see them grow and become good people of the community. It is always nice to see the ex-students come back and help the current students with their work. We want all the students to have more opportunity to perform and bring out the best of Isan culture to the witness of the world. This hope is the inspiration for all of us to keep going.”
In the learning perspective, Sinsai Band is reckoned as a laboratory of the art students, but to the public eye, the band is a leading group of performers that was exclusively selected to perform upon the presence of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, the imprinted moment to all the performers and audiences. The band is also reputable for its spectacular singing and dancing while chuckling the audiences with a lot of good jokes. The students of the band feel the privilege to be parts of the band and are passionate to continue the band’s success.
Udomchai Supanawong : Script
Photo credit to : Assoc. Prof. Dr. Kitichai Triratanasirichai
: Fb : KKU’s Sinsai Band