A MUSICAL JOURNEY

Issue : December 2014 / January 2015 Elite Performance
 

            On a Wednesday night at a condominium in the Sathon area, 30 singers of various ages and backgrounds gathered to contribute melodic lines and express their mutual passion for choral music. This was the Suanplu Chorus.

 

            Not every member could differentiate between sharp and flat notes, but anyone witnessing the rehearsal would be struck by its euphony. In a corner of the room, a woman sat observing. Opera singer, music teacher, charity organizer and founder of this choir, she was Dusdi Banomyong.

 

            Ms Dusdi is the fifth of six childrenof Pridi Banomyong, former prime minister of Thailand, and Thanpuying Phoonsuk Banomyong. Coming from a political family did not keep her from a respected career in music pedagogy.

 

            “When my great-grandfather was alive, we arranged our own mahori [traditional Thai music band],” she explained in an exclusive interview with Elite+. “My grandfather played accordion, which was very avant-garde at the time. And he let members of the family try different kinds of instruments. It was a pity my father was more of a scholar than a musician. He graduated at a young age and had no time to study music. But others in the family inherited musical talent from my grandfather – four of his descendents made careers in music, and others played music for pleasure.”

 

            Her maternal grandparents, who knew little about music, appreciated the melodies and encouraged their children to learn to play instruments. Her mother played piano, so Dusdi had a chance to hear music from her time in the womb.

 

            “I regarded my mother as my first music teacher. This family background was probably why I went down the pathway of music.”

 

            External factors, namely Thai politics at the time, also played a part in pushing her and her siblings into musical careers.

 

            “Originally I took music lessons as a hobby. I sang and played piano, but I never imagined this would play a significant part of my future. As I did well academically, everyone kept advising me to continue my studies in medicine. Then one day after our family reunited with my father in China, I was invited to observe brain surgery and acupuncture in Shanghai. As I watched the doctor drilling deep into the patient’s skull, I passed out. This made me give up on my dream of becoming a doctor. My sister Suda, who had graduated in music studies, arrived from France then, so I gave more thought to what I should do in the future.”

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