As with all currently available recordings of Myanmar (Burmese) music, this album features members of an outstanding professional, government-sponsored troupe playing both ensemble and solo pieces. Related to this is Hsaing Waing of Myanmar, World Music Library, KICC 5162, which also includes both ensemble and solo examples.
Western music gained popularity in Burma during the 1930s, despite the government's intervention. During the socialist era, musicians and artists were subject to censorship by the Press Scrutiny Board and Central Registration Board, as well as laws like the State Protection Law. Classical music was also introduced during the British occupation. Pop music emerged in the 1970s and was banned by state-run radio stations. However, many artists circumvented this censorship by producing albums in private studios and releasing them in music production shops. Rock music, called stereo in Burmese, has been a popular form of music since the 1980s. When the country's regulations on censorship were loosened in 2000, many pop groups emerged throughout Myanmar such as Electronic Machine, Playboy, ELF Myanmar, and the King. In August 2012, state censorship on music was officially abolished.
Translated as "great music" in Pali, the Mahāgīta is an extensive collection of Burmese classical songs called thachin gyi. The collection is divided into several different types of songs including the following: kyo, bwe, thachin gan, the oldest repertoires; pat pyo, royal court music; lwan chin, songs of longing; lay dway than gat; myin gin, music that makes horses dance; nat chin, songs used to worship the nat, Burmese spirits; yodaya, music introduced from Ayutthaya, talaing than, music adapted from the Mon people and bole, songs of sorrow.
Western music has gained popularity in Burma since the 1930s. Despite the government's intervention at times, especially during the socialist era, popular Burmese music has seen considerable influence from Western music, which consists of popular Western songs rendered in Burmese and pop music similar to other Asian pop tunes. Classical music was also introduced during the British occupation. Cult folk musician Nick Drake was born in Burma during British rule.
Rock music, called stereo in Burmese, has been a popular form of music since the 1980s, having been introduced in the 1960s. Pop music emerged in the 1970s and was banned by state-run radio stations. However, many artists circumvented this censorship by producing albums in private studios and releasing them in music production shops. During the socialist era, musicians and artists were subject to censorship by the Press Scrutiny Board and Central Registration Board, as well as laws like the State Protection Law. During this period, the arrival of various bands including the influential Thabawa Yinthwenge (The Wild Ones), which included lead singer Sai Htee Saing, an ethnic Shan, in 1973 paved the way for ethnic minority musicians to gain visibility in the Burmese music industry. Sai Kham Leik is a well known composer associated with The Wild Ones. Other contemporary singers were Khin Maung Toe, Kaiser, Hlwan Moe, Htoo Ein Thin, Soe Lwin Lwin, Saung Oo Hlaing, Lay Phyu, May Sweet, Maykhala, and Connie.
During the 8888 Uprising, restrictions loosened and many artists began writing music with themes of freedom and democracy. However, after the State Law and Order Restoration Council usurped power in 1988, the Press Scrutiny Board was reformed to censor specific political and social issues, including poverty, the sex trade, democracy, and human rights. The Myanmar Music Asiayon (MMA) was established by the SLORC to further censor Burmese-produced music. Popular musicians including Zaw Win Htut and Sai Htee Saing have produced propaganda albums written by military officers such as Mya Than San.
Hip hop and rap emerged in the late 1990s and is now the prevailing genre of music among Burmese youth today.Bands like Iron Cross, Emperor and BigBag are popular among older Burmese and certain groups of youth. There are hip-hop enthusiasts all over Burma with Burmese hip-hop artists such as Ye Lay, Sai Sai Kham Hlaing, and J-me. There are also many underground rock and metal bands such as All Else I Fail, Last Day of Beethoven, Temper Level VIII, Tha Ta Lin Chate, Idiots, Offkeys, We Are the Waste, The Last Secret, etc. but mostly producing nu-metal and metalcore. As for heavy metal, the scene is growing steadily but remains less popular compared to mainstream music. Despite very few metal bands in Burma, the metal band aficionado society is united and supportive of raw black metal, thrash metal, and death metal. Burmese cover songs (particularly from Asia) represented early pop music in the country as artists recorded and performed "copy tunes," which were reproductions of international pop songs performed in Burmese. Singers such as Min Min Latt paved the way for other artists such as Myanmar's version of Lady Gaga, Phyu Phyu Kyaw Thein, R Zarni and Sai Sai Kham Leng.
When the country's regulations on censorship were loosened in 2000, new pop groups emerged across Myanmar who were able to compose, record and perform original Burmese music. Many pop groups emerged throughout Myanmar such as Electronic Machine, Playboy, ELF Myanmar and the King. In August 2012, state censorship on music was officially abolished. The only government censorship that remains on music is video censorship. Everyone can, in essence, release whatever they want. This has led many on the newly re-grouped Myanmar Music Association to grapple with the idea of forming a rating system to deal with some 'rude words' in music that may not be appropriate for all ages.
After decades underground, a small but enduring punk rock and heavy metal music scene has been increasingly visible in Burma. Modelling many 1970s and '80s classic Western punk bands and Modern Metal. Burmese punk band metal band shows a musical defiance that has not been seen before in Burma. In the German made 2012 documentary film "Yangon Calling" over a period of six weeks film-makers Alexander Dluzak and Carsten Piefke secretly filmed, as they documented the Burmese punks life, documenting everything from meeting friends and family, visiting rehearsals and filming secret concerts.
Websites that have started up in recent years such as Myanmar Xbands have given attention to the Burmese punk scene along with other alternative Burmese music. The site has developed into a hub for artists to display their music to a Burmese and international audience for free download. Most of the Talented Bands Like Last Day of Beethoven, Darkest Tears from My Heart, Fever 109, We Are the Waste are well known by others because of this website. While other Burmese punk bands like pop punk band Side Affect, turned to raising funds on IndieGoGo, to release their first album. The band just managed to raise enough funds to release their album in May 2012, shortly before their efforts fell short to international sanctions. However, other popular Burmese punk bands such as No Uturn or Rebel Riot has turned to self-release, releasing their demos on popular download sites such as MySpace and Reverb Nation.
Burmese music has a wide variety of musical instruments, including the brass se (which is like a triangle), hne (a kind of oboe) and bamboo wa, as well as the well-known saung, a boat-shaped harp.
These instruments are played in a musical scale consisting of seven tones, each associated with an animal that is said to be the producer of the tone. Each tone can be played raised, lowered or natural (corresponding to sharp, flat or natural), resulting a possible twenty-one combinations. The pat waing drum circle, for example, consists of twenty-one drums, one tuned to each tone in each possible combination, and the saing saya (maestro) sits in the middle using various parts of his hands to strike the drums to produce a melody. The kyi waing is the gong circle strung up in the same fashion and the gongs are struck with a knobbed stick and in accompaniment to the pat waing.
"There are many of our fans amongthe victims. Artistes survive on the support of their audience and fans,"another popular singer Sie Thu Lwin, who will also join the group of singersfor the album told Mizzima.
Besides Song Oo laing and Sie Thu Lwin,other prominent singers like Ringo, Graham, Htoo El Lin, Nweh Yee Win,May Khalar, Haymar Nay Win, Connie, Tin Zar Maw, Lay Lay Wah, Kabyar BweHmu, Chaw Suu Khin, Mee Mee Khel, Sone Thin Par, Moe Moe Zaw Win, ThanThar Win, Shin Phone, Khin Phone, Zamnu, Ah Hmu and Kaizar will join inproducing the album.
"After Cyclone Nargis, I wrote moresongs and added it to this album. I wrote these songs to encourage ourpeople and to boost their morale. The main theme of this album encouragesour people for reconstruction and rehabilitation," Saung Oo Hlaingsaid.
Disc one features chamber music performed on the Burmese harp. Constructed with13 strings, the harp is considered by the Burmese to be their national instrument. Disc two presents orchestra music performed by a hsaing waing ensemble. Hsaing waing is traditional music played primarily on percussion instruments featuring the pat waing, a 21-drum set in ascending size arranged in a circle. Included among the selections is music played as the overture to court performances of the Ramayana.
Western music gained much popularity in Burma starting from the 1930s. Despite government intervention at times, especially during the Socialist era, popular Burmese music has become considerably influenced by Western music, which consists of popular Western songs rendered in Burmese and pop music similar to other Asian pop tunes. Classical music was also introduced during the British occupation. [Source: Wikipedia +] 2b1af7f3a8