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Well-wishers in pink and yellow celebrate the King's Birthday with kite-flying and picnics at Saphan Hin.

Magic Music With The King

Wednesday, November 28, 2007
THE KING'S skills as a musician are well known and they were on display on his visit to Phuket in 1959.

After dinner on the first night of his visit, the King heard some local musicians. On the second night, a large local orchestra, known as a wong meetsin, swang into action.

The King was impressed. Then, because the Queen was ill, the royal couple stayed on in Phuket one extra day and night.

On the third day, he met the orchestra leader, Kieanpho Ko-yong Seaung and asked him if he could join in a small group and play some Thai music, including some of the King's own compositions.

Khun Ko-yong played the double bass, Khun Sanee played the slide trombone, the King played the clarinet, and his music instructor, Ajarn Manrat Srikanon, played piano.

The King's song, Magic Beam, was one of the tunes they played.

The nights of royal music on Phuket were recalled recently by Tira Ko-leang Kianpotiramard, one of the orchestra members.

The impromptu jam session took place at the Governor's residence, with the members of the orchestra listening, along with some of the King's entourage.

It was a memorable afternoon, with the music flowing for about two hours.

Khun Ko-leang, who played the violin, remembers the King being surprised at the professional standard of the local musicians and especially impressed by their knowledge of Western tunes.

Among the celebrations for the King's birthday is a music competition for young local jazz players, a legacy of the afternoons and night of music all those years ago on Phuket.

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