Music on the Table
By Ben Tausig and Peter Doolan
Produced by Elizabeth Watkins
Visitors to Bangkok who happened upon the Red and Yellow Shirt political protests in 2010 and 2011 could be forgiven for mistaking them, much of the time, for concerts or dance parties. The air of the rallies was saturated with songs, both live and recorded. CDs sold almost as quickly as grilled pork, and hundreds of artists created (or recreated) themselves as full-time protest musicians.
Protest music could be, but was not always, whimsical. Indeed, its content, distribution, and subtexts pointed to deep wells of critique of the government and political system, much of which was outspoken and even radical. Listening closely to the music of the protests also gives us a sense of the relationships that flourished at the rallies – between vendors and consumers, protest leaders and crowds, and among protesters themselves. “Music on the Table” addresses itself at once to scholarship on the role of music and media in social movements, to studies of new forms of musical economy enabled by inexpensive technologies of distribution, and to contemporary work on Thai politics, including recent histories of protest and political resistance. See extended scholarly bibliography below.
In this presentation, we guide the reader through the content of two virtual CD tables that display a representative selection of music actually purchased at the rallies in the case of the Red Shirts, and at the offices of right-leaning ASTV media (at Phujatgan headquarters in Bangkok) or audible on the radio in the case of the Yellows.
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