Kaen - Thailand

Purchased in Thailand, 1963

From Graciela's Notes

The kaen is a reed mouth organ and, when played, does sound like an organ. It has a wonderful full harmonious sound. The instruments that accompany the regional dances of Thailand sometimes vary as do the dances. The kaen is often used in Northeasterner dances. The kaen is capable of carrying melodies when necessary or just added as an accompaniment. To understand a bit more about the use of the Thai instruments it is also necessary to know something about the dances. The culture of Thailand differs somewhat from region to region. Thai folk dances reflect these basic regional differences. Although in some respects these dances resemble each other, each region has its typical and distinctive characteristics. The dances of the north are marked by a special hand movement, in which the dancer holds her wrists together and swivels her hand in a circular motion without separating the wrists. The Northeastern dancers’ hands move actively, but without the touched wrists of the north, and the torso bends and sways in a circular motion. These folks dances are called fawns. Besides they are talented in poetry and music. Thus Northeastern dances are usually accompanied by singing in the native style. Like the Northerners, who use drums, cymbals and gongs, the Northeasterners also use the kaen. During my stay in Thailand in December 1963, I saw the kaen used in some of the folk dances we enjoyed.

© Copyright 2014, Our Lady of the Lake University, 411 S.W. 24th St., San Antonio, TX 78207 | Tele: 210-434-6711