Listen to Pilot Light

Monday, April 23, 2012

Another wedding and its music

The folks at the basket maker's house next to us started setting up the tents for a wedding on Saturday. I call it the basket maker's house, because when they aren't having weddings, they make huge baskets out of reeds--all day long. A very industrious group. So they deserved a party.

You can' see the house in this photo. It sits back from the way and the tent runs all the way from the road to the house. The second tent, to the right, is in an empty lot. I suppose it is for friends of friends of the family.

The daytime music, which is largely traditional music, which I was told was written specifically for weddings, is interesting. Khmer music uses five tones, but they aren't the same as the Western pentatonic scale (the "rock" scale). It is all whole tone steps, no sharps or flats. And the arrangements tend to be rhythmic. The music has no harmonies, and independent melodies are interwoven. At its best, it is really nice, kind of Asian Dixieland. At its worst (according to my ears) it is like a bad jam session.

The nighttime music was certain to be that terrible mixtape of Santana (long instrumentals by a Santana clone who is good but little imagination) and pop and awful Karaoke. So went to the city for the evening. Stayed at a nice wooden guest house on the river front. We had a khmer massage, which is a very soothing way to spend an hour, and ate frogs legs while watching family hour on the riverfront. We call it family hour because the vast majority of the traffic is motorbikes with Mom and Dad and a couple of kids on board. They stop at street vendors and buy boiled corn on the cob, or beer, or some of the other interesting foods available. But more on food another time.