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A golden age of melodies

Veteran vocalist Srisalai Suchatawut delights fans with her latest solo show



She may be turning 68 next month, but the years simply fell away Wednesday night as singer Srisalai Suchatawut reminded the audience of her vocal power.

Walking up the staircase on stage dressed in a white Kai Boutique gown, she charmed the 2,400-strong crowd at BCC Hall with her unique hoarse and sexy voice. Despite a slightly shaky voice in the first few songs - a factor she described by as "the stage syndrome" - she amazed fans with her strong voice and her joyous show.

Srisalai brought back the good old days in this, her second solo concert, titled "Because of Your Love".

Through her voice, songs of legendary composers like Sa-nga Aramphee and Chalie Intravichit came back to life. The music worked well with old photos, many of them dating back to the days, several decades ago, when she first became a professional singer. Some songs were devoted to her idols, both living and dead, like late national artist Pensri Phoomchusri as well as Sawali Pakapan and Charin Nantanakorn, both of whom were present at the concert.

Her performance served as inspiration of what the 60-plus can achieve if filled with love and passion. Determined to entertain her fans, Srisalai walked up and down the stage in three elegant costumes, all designed by Somchai Kaewtong of Kai Boutique. During the jazz segment of the show, she swayed to the music and joyously made a popping sound with her thumb.

Her genuine modesty and a relentless thirst to learn drew not only the crowds but also fellow stars, among them Koh Mr Saxman. After years of absence from the scene, she also pulled back Toon Hiranyasap, her co-star in the 1980 hit movie "Kaew", and Settha Sirachaya, national artist and vocalist with the Impossibles. Toon, who had been suffering from the 'flu, checked himself out of hospital especially for the show while Settha had just recovered from a nasty stomach upset. Spicing up the night were Somlek Sakdikul, who gave a stunning performance on "You are the sunshine of my life" and Osoth Prayoonvech, dubbed as Thailand's George Benson - two new friends she warmly embraced.

She gave the stage to the backup band, introducing all musicians individually. Between songs, she gestured to the right and left, in a show of appreciation.

"There are always people behind anyone's success," the singer said.

Aside from the unwavering charm of Settha's voice, a highlight of the show was her performance of "Thur Pan Jai", a number made famous by Asanee Chotikul and which sounded terrific in a jazz arrangement.

The show would have been the talk of the town but for the unfortunate flaws with the sound system, which made the music so loud at times that it risked drowning out the singers' voices. The design of the venue was another problem, as the poorly graded floor meant those sitting near the back could only watch the concert on the big screens.

The programme contained too many details and too many guests, leaving many of Srisalai's fans dismayed. As many of them were elderly and had come with student-age children, the four-hour show on a week night was exhausting. Even Srisalai was exhausted, failing to perform to perfection such evergreen hits as "Chuafa Din Salai".

Srisalai is hosting another concert in Chiang Mai at the end of September. Hopefully, these flaws will be ironed out and fans will enjoy the benefits.

As Srisalai herself said on the stage: "Despite my age, I am ready to learn new things."



Garden glory

Srisalai Live in Chiang Mai takes place at Rajapruek Garden in Chiang Mai on September 29 at 3pm. Tickets are available at www.ThaiTicket.Major.com.


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