Luang Pradit Pairoh: Master of Thai Traditional Music

Saurav Singh

Image Courtesy: Google Doodle 

Luang Pradit Pairoh (6 August 1881 – 8 March 1954) was a Thai musician who was famous in playing Thai instruments and composing original Thai song. Luang Pradit Phairoh, a name shrouded in mystery, yet a legendary figure in the world of arts and culture. Luang Pradit Phairoh’s artistic talents were evident from a young age. He displayed an innate aptitude for traditional Thai music, particularly mastering the art of playing the ‘khim,’ a dulcimer-like instrument. His dedication to the craft and unwavering passion led him to become a prominent figure in the realm of Thai classical music.

Sorn’s musical journey began at a tender age of five when he first showcased his talent by playing the Khong wong yai. As the years passed, his passion for music only grew stronger. By the time he reached eleven, he immersed himself in studying the intricate art of gamelan, swiftly mastering the xylophone, which he had played with remarkable skill since childhood. Guided by his father’s expertise, he honed his craft until he became the finest performer in the Mae Klong River basin, earning admiration and acclaim from fellow musicians and audiences alike.

In the year 1900, at the age of 19, Sorn was presented with a significant opportunity to perform for Prince Bhanurangsi Savangwongse, the younger brother of King Chulalongkorn. Impressed by Sorn’s exceptional xylophone skills, Prince Bhanurangsi Savangwongse invited him to the Buraphaphirom Palace to serve as a xylophone player. As his reputation soared, Sorn was bestowed the prestigious title of Luang Pradit Pairoh by the department of dramatic arts on June 27, 1925, during a ceremony held at Borompiman Hall. The following July 13, he received the esteemed rank of bridegroom, a recognition of his remarkable talent and contribution to the arts.

Although he had no prior experience with the department, his unparalleled expertise and artistic abilities made him a prominent figure in the musical landscape. In 1926, Luang Pradit Pairoh began his illustrious service in the department of gamelan and the ministry of royal pantomime. His passion for teaching and sharing his musical knowledge led him to contribute to King Rama VII and the King’s wife, assisting in creating three beautiful songs, namely Ratreepradupdoaw, Khmerrahong, and Homrongkluenkratopfung.

On March 8, 1954, Luang Pradit Pairoh passed away at the age of 73, leaving behind a rich legacy of musical brilliance and innovation. His contributions to the world of music continue to inspire generations of musicians, and his memory lives on through his timeless compositions and performances.

Award and Legacy 

Luang Pradit Pairoh’s extraordinary life has inspired many artistic creations, one of which is the acclaimed movie “The Overture.” This film, released in 2004, beautifully depicts his journey, albeit with a touch of fiction. “The Overture” garnered numerous prestigious awards in Thailand and earned a submission for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film. Such recognition is a testament to the profound impact he had on the arts and culture of his homeland.

Furthermore, his captivating story also made its way to television, where it was adapted into a series aired on Thai PBS in 2012. The TV adaptation allowed even more people to delve into the life of this remarkable figure, gaining a deeper appreciation for his contributions.

On 6 August 2017, Google celebrated Luang Pradit Phairoh’s 136th Birthday with a doodle.