Crocodile Fears
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Tuesday, April 23, 2024


Crocodile Fears

By ASOHN VI MAY, 2010 - VOLUME 18 NO.5

(Page 2 of 2)

“They get to play about 20 songs and that’s it—they lose interest,” said “crocodile” student Nay Lin Htun.

It’s also a difficult instrument to master, losing out to such conventional stringed instruments as the violin or guitar.

Mon musician Ko Du took his “crocodile” to the US when he emigrated there, and in 2006 he and Htaw Paing’s group, Mon Music in Burma, recorded an album of 13 traditional Mon songs, including several featuring the “crocodile.” But it was a one-off and no similar album has emerged since then.

Now the instrument is mostly heard at traditional festivals, but even there it’s losing ground to the music of modern pop groups.

Views are divided on how to resurrect interest in the “crocodile,” with purists resisting the instrument’s integration in modern bands. Their opposition is backed by official government moves to discourage and even ban the use of traditional music in modern arrangements.

Ko Du believes that mixing the two is a way to awaken interest in Mon music. “Modern music mixed with traditional instruments is very successful in the international arena now,” he said. “We should try to bring international attention by creating our own music.”

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