After several years working behind the scenes, musician Manote “Hason” Puttan is returning to the stage to pay tribute to his favourite writer, the late Kanokpong Songsompan, with a conceptual concert that blends a live performance with film.
“I first heard about Kanokpong when [southern band] Maleehuana, who were signed to my Milestone label at the time, wanted to cover songs-for-life band Saphan’s song ‘Khon Laew’ [Bad Guy] written by Kanokpong. I met Kanokpong and while we didn’t become close friends, we stayed in touch,” says Manote, an Ayutthaya native who’s a singer, musician and former editor of the now-defunct Banthoeng Khadi music magazine.
Kanokpong, 1966-2006, won the SEA Write Award in 1996.
“He had a house in a valley in Nakhon Si Thammarat’s Phrommakhiri district, which he called ‘Hup Khao Fon Proei Phrai’ [the valley of the rainforest]. He told me he had spent 11 days walking in Khao Luang National Park to collect seedlings and had been amazed at the natural acoustics of the forest. He said he’d be able to hear his friends from 300 metres away. He tried to persuade me to go there but sadly I didn’t make the trip before his death.”
The concert, set for July 28 at Siam Square’s Scala Theatre, is divided into two parts. It opens with a 15-minute movie explaining how the rain inspired the Kanokpong. The soundtrack will feature such foreign songs as “Rhythm of the Rain”, “Raining in My Heart” “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head” and “Rain”.
Guitarist Pakin Isarakul will later reprise “Rain”, and “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head” and also play the Thai classic “Phu Chana Sib Thit”.
There will also be a 30-minute movie focusing on Kanokpong at home.
Maleehuana’s singer Kathawut Thongthai and guitarist Thongchai Rakrong, who are still locked in conflict over copyright, will take turns on stage and the songs-for-life band will play seven songs including “Khon Laew”, “Saeng Chan” and “Mora”.
The last movie looks at the recording of “Kanokpong Khon Fang Sieng Fon” [Kanokpong with sound of rain] in collaboration with Maleehuana’s songwriter Sompong Siviroj for an indie album released in 2007.
Originally written as an acoustic number, the new version is re-arranged as progressive rock with the backup band playing different keyboards, guitars, basses and drums. It also features the reading of a poem by Kanokpong’s older brother Jane and friend and fellow author, Kajonrit Raksa.
“Before the show starts, the audience will hear the sound of a flowing stream, slight breeze and singing birds instead of music. This will be followed by a slide show of commercials and a movie trailer just like in bygone days,” says Manote, who will also perform with his band the Lamb.
Manote said he originally intended to use Kanokpong’s story for a 48-minute documentary to air on his “Banthoeng Khadi” TV programme but he later changed his mind.
“My programme was essentially about foreign artists and music videos and today I want to give people inspiration and knowledge in addition to information. I already have a list of 13 individuals to whom I would like to pay tribute through concerts, like Sueb Nakasatien with ‘Phuchai Nai Saeng Daed’, Phra Buddhadasa, and a cancer patient in ‘Cheewit Thi Jeb Puad Khong Khon Puai’,” says Manote.
The concert will be recorded for later screening on TV and sale as a DVD.
_ “Banthoeng Khadi the Movie: Fon Proei Phrai Jai Klang Muang” takes place on July 28 at 4pm at the Scala Theatre.
_ Tickets cost Bt1,000 to Bt1,500. Call (02) 262 3456 or visit www.ThaiTicketMajor.com.