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Mor lam musicians left in live performance limbo

by qualityeducation
Noknoy Uraiporn (centre) and other mor lam performers gather at the Khon Kaen city office to seek clarification on whether they are allowed to perform live in the current Covid-19 situation. (Photo: Chakrapan Natanri)

KHON KAEN: Members of 22 well-known mor lam groups in the Northeast have sought official clarification on whether or not they are allowed to stage their shows during the latest Covid-19 outbreak.

Led by Urai Chimluang, 64 — better known as Noknoy Uraiporn, leader of the famous “Siang Isan” troupe — they submitted a letter to Kittipong Bieokot, director of the Khon Kaen Damrongtham Centre.

They said they had lost contracts to perform at several events because there was no clear directive from provincial authorities. The organisers said they were uncertain whether they could legally stage the shows amid the current spread of Covid-19.

Ms Urai said the cancellations had left all mor lam groups jobless and penniless.

Mr Kittipong accepted the petition for consideration.

From his converations with various mor lam musicians, Mr Kittipong said the problem was causing widespread hardship throughout the Northeast.

He said that in fact provincial and local authorities have not been ordered to ban mor lam shows. However, the host or organiser of each event is required to seek permission from the communicable disease committees in their province on a case-by-case basis.

Each provincial committee has its own health guidelines, Mr Kittipong said.

He advised the mor lam groups to first seek permission from the provincial communicable disease committee and follow their guidance.

The petitioners said they would take his advice before leaving.

Ms Urai said her “Siang Isan” mor lam group had initially been contracted to perform in about 100 events from late last year to June this year. Ahout 60 shows have been cancelled, she said, with the remainder postponed to 2022-2023 — or whenever the Covid-19 situation has eased.

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