Sunday, December 12, 2021

VA - Longing for the Past, The 78 RPM Era in Southeast Asia [2013] (4 x CD's)



VA - Longing for the Past, The 78 RPM Era in Southeast Asia [2013] (4 x CD's)

An amazing collection of music and reading. It is is the first survey of the 78 rpm record era in Southeast Asia,

While one may not always find oneself in the mood for listening to vintage southeast Asian music, this set is just right should the mood so strike you.  I should first mention that as a Western, English speaking lover of vintage world music of all stripes, that I find this music to be more obtuse and impenetrable than most other world music I've listened to. That said, if anything is worth the extra effort on the part of a listener, this is it. The music as a whole is often beautifully nuanced and repeatedly staggering, with the intensity and depth of spirit coming across often. That said, an effort is required, and one must approach this music while considering an entirely different aesthetic framework or way of listening. That's not to say that enjoying this music makes me a better listener or a more open minded person (or somehow wins me more 'hipster cred' as the reviewer below suggests), but one must be willing to approach this music on its own terms and without pretense. When you can do that, you can begin to fully appreciate this astounding body of music.

The CD's weave their way through southeast Asia, and include recordings from Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Burma, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. This set also includes recordings ranging from 1905 - 1966, including some of the very first recordings made in these locales. The timeframe of 61 years allows for some contrast between traditional and more modern musics, as does the history of colonialism which impacted most of the region at some point or another. Accordingly, the stylistic variety of the set is sprawling, and as dust to digital aptly describes it, kaleidoscopic. In fact, a good entry point and some of the stranger songs included are those that blend sensibilities, styles and instruments. Examples abound, but a few that come to mind are an otherwise traditional Thai ensemble that uses a vibraphone to ethereal effect. A Burmese song that blends piano, violin and muted cornet in entirely unexpected ways, a few songs that use military brass bands in combination with traditional instruments, and much, much more.

The packaging for this set is gorgeous, and the accompanying book is bursting with information, essays and an array of lavishly reproduced images. Combine all of this material with the music itself, and the density of this set is overwhelming, to the point of making it seem impenetrable at times. However, when the urge for full immersion in vintage southeast Asian music strikes, this will be my first and last stop. The ranking of this set is entirely dependent on whether you are the kind of person who thinks they may get such an urge in the first place. For myself, this is the best dust to digital set yet. (Amazon)

For those with an unflinchingly western/modern/popular aesthetic framework, you will find this abominable. If you are open to learning a very different musical vocabulary and set of aesthetic values, and if you are willing to approach listening to this music as you might approach learning a new language; Longing for the Past is rich with revelations. (Amazon)


Pt.1  Pt.2 






Track lists


01 Út Trà Ôn, Huệ, Thủy Tôn Tẫn Giả Điên 3:20

02 Sak Som Peo Ensemble Phleng Boran 3:01

03 Văn Hí Ban Xứ Tội Bàng Quí Phi, Thứ Nhì 3:11

04 Đào Nhã Tả Cảnh Cô Đầu Thua Bạc 3:22

05 Lad Un Thawai Phaka Thi 3:02

06 Ensemble of the Governor of Vientiane Nang Nak 3:08

07 Ensemble of the Governor of Vientiane Khaek Mon 3:36

08 Nguyễn Văn Minh, Tức Minh-Con Nam Nhị-Tự 2:51

09 Molam Som Gap Pa Pheng 3:17

10 Van Thanh Ban Khổng Minh - Mẫu Tầm Tử 3:35

11 Năm Cơ Đờn Vọng Cổ - Kìm Độc Chiếc 3:04

12 Nội Giam Xữ Tội Bàng Quí Phi 2:55

13 Mr. Salat Thong Yon / Phleng Barang / Rueang Khun Chang Khun Phaen 2:51

14 Suphantha-Amat Khap Salang 3:17

15 Bà Cả Chung Văn Bà Đệ Tứ 3:07

16 Nang Salit Nang Khluan 3:17

17 Nang Salit Lom Phat Sai Khao 3:17

18 Mu Dinh Tứ Đại Cảnh - Kim Tiền 3:28

19 Cô Năm Cần Thơ Hỡi Trời Cao - Xàng Xế 2:58

20 Phuma Khap Thum Lao 3:15

21 Uncredited Pinpeat Ensemble Teb Bantom 2:54

22 Cô Ba Thịnh Gửi Thư 3:08


01 Sak Som Peo Ensemble Phleng Boran (Alternate Version) 3:04

02 Mme. Ba Thinh Hát Mưỡu Và Hát Nói 2:59

03 Uncredited Ensemble Khaek Lopburi 2:50

04 Mr. Thi, Ms. Duang-Di, and Mr. Mi Khap Ngeum Thang Khaokan 3:04

05 Thao Keota and Thao Nénh, Khenes, With Thao Phou Xhon, Thit Oun and Others Danse Ancienne 2:49

06 Orchestre Bat-Âm Chant De Bateliers 2:58

07 Uncredited Artists Promenade En Foret 2:42

08 Wohar Sam Khmer Kroak 2:56

09 Buddhist Monk Jan Thet Mathi/ Sthu Ku Lak-Kham-Kaeo/Wat Vientiane 3:08

10 Ms. Taeng Cha Pi 3:16

11 Zhong Zheng Shun Xiang Chaozhou Opera Troupe Zhan Zhao Bi Jian 3:12

12 Thewaprasit Ensemble Pleng Sen Lao Na 3:03

13 Molam Nuanchan Lam Toei Jep Saep 3:07

14 Piphat Phataya-Koson Homrong Chan Chao 3:03

15 Mr. Muean Srey Sroh Mien Thrung 3:04

16 Cậu Tôn Út Đờn Huế, Cổ Bản 2:58

17 Phuma An Nangsue Thawng Kan 3:18

18 Le Thuy Chúc Anh Đài 2:51

19 Duriyapranit Piphat Ensemble & Chorus Rabam Dawadoeng 2:54

20 Nang Salit Huang A-Lai 3:20

21 Yot Silapin Ensemble Khaek Khao 3:13

22 Yot Silapin Ensemble Phram Dit Nam Dao 2:44

23 Phloen Phromdaen Lam Khaen 3:11


01 Sandaya Maung Kyaw Maung Kyaw Ei Sandaya Nyunt: Ah Hson 3:15

02 Kotsanabanthoeng Paired Piphat Ensemble Ffawn Jao Sri Oi 2:51

03 Bunyong Ketkhong Doi Rup 3:01

04 Unknown Welcoming Ma Thein Nyunt , Ma Sein Thin, Ma Sein Thi and Their a Ngyeint Dancers and Singers With Finale, Clown Dance, 2:58

05 Mingala Ma Thein Nyunt Mingala Ma Thein Nyunt, Ma Sein Thin, Ma Sein Thi a Ngyeint Presenting Some New Tunes By Mingala Ma Thein Nyunt, Ma Sein Thin, Ma 3:06

06 Yawt Silabin Troupe Mon Ap Son 3:00

07 Mar Mar Aye Hnit Kan Pyaing Hpuza 3:07

08 Nai Po & Thai Royal Page Military Brass Band Pleng Khrawp Chakara Wan Thao Tawn Abu Hassan Taeng Ngan 3:16

09 Yadana Myit Son Nant Tha Myaing: Sha Pon Gyi 2:59

10 Nai Chon Lakhon Rueang Kraithong 3:41

11 Honorable Mom Luang Thawi Watriwong Lao Phan 3:04

12 Hta Thet Hta 2:50

13 Lady Charoen Tap Phraw Law 3:11

14 Ma Sein Sin Sanda Min Yodaya 3:04

15 Ma Thin Hpon Taw Bwe 2:58

16 Maung Pwa Gyi Shit Hkan Palin 3:14

17 Piphat Troupe of Khru, With Teacher Rawt Aksarathap of Chiangmai Khap Mai Ban Doh 2:30

18 Pyi Hla Hpe Ba Ba Win 2:50

19 Ma Kyi Aung Son Taw Myaing 3:03

20 Thaton Ba Hein Taw Hnit Taung Swe 3:16

21 Myat Lay Miss Whiskey 2:56

22 Ma Kyi Aung Mi Ba Myitta 3:10

23 Mah Thane May Yodaya Bwe Gyi 3:03

24 Yadana Myit Nyut Nyut Hsaing Hsaing 2:59


01 Nji Ajat With Tjelempoeng Orkest "Panglipoer Galih" Lambaresik 3:01

02 Miss Riboet Dji Hong 3:09

03 Miss Rohani Dondang Sayang 3:20

04 Ropaoen Batoebara Ile-Ile 2:37

05 Male Singer With Violin, Young Children Tumba Lela-Lelan 1:29

06 Gender Wajang, Koeta Angkat-Angatan 2:59

07 Uncredited Chinese Wedding Ensemble Pengantin Berarak 2:48

08 Oman Tjikadjangan 3:18

09 Salih Gambos Ya Omar 3:01

10 Plah and Raslah Lagu Daerah Sumatera 3:23

11 Mei Yu Shier Zhulei 2:47

12 Upit Sarimanah Ka Abdi 2:57

13 Gamelan Musicians of Yogyakarta, Java Babarlajar Mataram 3:07

14 Obid Gambos Sri Mahkota Kelantan 3:00

15 Ni Lemon Poetih Poetih Sapoet Andoek 2:47

16 H. Dolmat Chek Siti I 3:25

17 Mas Adjeng P. Laras Aroem Titipati 3:14

18 Jetty and Suhairi Kitjir Kitjir 2:50

19 Irene Tungou Ogingo Mamangka Vuhan 2:42

20 Saemah Wak Daing 3:10

21 Moh Aminor Aidjawi Aer Mata Djato Berlinang 3:06




  1. Replies
    1. Hi jack,
      It really is and very different to what we normally listen too. So, the challenge is to be transported.


  2. Hi Butterboy,
    You're always surprising with your sharings!!! Thanks a lot for this one, looks quite interesting!!!

    1. Hi Il Commendatore,
      Its hard to fit some albums in the normal postings but as you know I try to offer an eclectic mix of music and thought provoking sounds. I hope you will enjoy these sounds.


  3. Thank You BB.I just listened to Sound Storing Machines The First 78rpm Records from Japan, 1903​-​1912 on SUBLIME FREQUENCIES very cool i think this will be great also

    1. Hi Frazz.
      I don't have the one you mention but I am sure it is also thought provoking.
      I hope you will enjoy this one.


  4. Hi. Part 2 is MIA.....hope you will have time to re-upload it. Thank you in advance.

    1. Hi Macambo,
      New links established, tested and working.

    2. Hi Macambo,
      New links established, tested and working.