Thai flutist blows onto international stage

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“My life is the flute. The flute is my life. When I’m without breath, my flute is mute,” said Thai flutist Thanis Sriklindee.

Thanis is elated whenever he blows a flute. The veteran Thai flutist, renowned from his rendition of the song “Made in Thailand,” has been in the kingdom’s music community for decades.

Native Thai flutes are made from many different kinds of wood. Thanis said different flutes produce different sounds.

Thanis has strenuously developed Thai flutes to be on par with universal instruments. His original objective was to harmoniously mingle the sound of the Thai flute in an orchestra. He dreamed that Thai traditional flutists would proudly perform on an international stage one day.

His dream has finally come true.

Thai teenagers are influenced by western music and culture to a degree that they almost entirely ignore their roots. However, Thanis is optimistic, saying that Thai children will naturally absorb Thai music if there are good examples for them.

“We have to encourage Thai people, especially the new generation, to absorb, learn and understand Thai music. It’s important that they enjoy it. Thai musicians must stand proudly and elegantly at the front on international stages. Thai children will be impressed when they see it,” Thanis said.

“Traditionally,” Thanis added, “Thai wooden flutes were merely for traditional Thai songs. Now that we also play western musical instruments and are geared towards universal music, Thai musicians will have to adjust accordingly.”

He said he also learned western music. Several Thai teachers introduced a rural boy like him to the world of universal music, and he wants to show the world the capability of Thai flute.

Thanis has been teaching Thai music to young enthusiasts, free of charge, at Wat Bang Pla in Samut Prakarn province every Sunday. He wishes the new generation will learn about their roots through Thai music. And that the native Thai flute will strengthen the relationship between Thai and international musicians.