Vol. VII No. 45 - Tuesday
November 4 - November 10, 2008



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Art, Music & Culture
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

A Thrilling Evening of Violin and Piano

Woven Wisdom – Masterpieces from Studio Naenna Archives

Akha traditional medicine to be promoted in Chiang Rai

Three Thai sites win UNESCO heritage awards for conservation projects

 

A Thrilling Evening of Violin and Piano

Jean-Pierre Kirkland
On Sunday October 26, at Payap University’s acoustically wonderful Sairusee Hall, a large audience was thrilled by the magical sounds of violin virtuoso Vadim Tchijik and his delightful accompanist Sayaka Funakoshi.
And what a magnificent performance these two very talented and devoted Paris-based musicians gave us! They opened with a broad and very deeply reflective interpretation of Beethoven’s gloriously tuneful ‘Spring Sonata’ – and how it bubbled with energy and life! The violin soared through the auditorium while the piano gave us a vibrant and totally supportive accompaniment to the enthralling sounds Vadim produced. The first movement emerged as a powerful statement of passion and energy. Vadim was at his most expressive in the lyrical and tender adagio which reached peaks of emotional clarity – subtle, persuasive, reflective and at times poignant. The third and final movements were both played with tremendous vigour, the sensuous tone of his 200 year-old French violin echoing through the hall in this exciting conclusion.
By sharp contrast musically came ‘Le Grand Tango’ by 20th century composer Astor Piazzola. This marvellous virtuoso piece was played with great enthusiasm and determination. In parts it required very agile fingering and Vadim rose to the occasion with great dexterity; the piece had constantly changing rhythms which made significant demands on the musicians to support each other, which they accomplished admirably. Although parts of this work sounded nothing whatsoever like a tango, the final flourish was one of those magic moments in music – frenetic and furious to the finish and so uplifting!
The second half was devoted to the nostalgic and wistful Cesar Franck Violin Sonata, played with deep sentiment and firm control. The mellow cadenza-like melodies were a delight to hear in this very masterful and often passionate performance. Born in Moscow, but now professor of violin in two Paris conservatoires, Vadim was completely at home with this lovely piece if mid-romantic writing. He gave a penetrating and thoughtful interpretation, so essential for this genre of music. At only 33 years old, Vadim has already been ‘dubbed’ as a maestro by one leading French magazine and I doubt if anyone in the audience that night would have queried such an honour.
We were treated to exciting and thrilling playing on both piano and violin, carefully balanced with lyrical and tender moments of great beauty. And we were rewarded with a delightful encore by Elgar which made a tuneful close to a memorable evening. Thanks to the ‘Alliance Franšaise’ for their sponsorship of this superb evening and to Payap University for hosting the event. It is two years since Vadim played here in Chiang Mai – let us hope that he will return very soon to delight us with more of his masterful playing.

 

Woven Wisdom – Masterpieces from Studio Naenna Archives

Elena Edwards
Patricia Cheesman is pleased to announce the opening of a new gallery space on the grounds of Studio Naenna. For the first exhibition, Woven Wisdom, exquisite prized art textiles have been unearthed from the inner chamber, never before seen in public. Selected for their beauty, unique artistic merit, complexity and symbolic meaning, these art pieces, woven by master weaver Viroy Nanthapoom and designed by Patricia, are to be shared with the public. In this manner, they will spin their stories into the world, weaving their magic.

Antique traditional costumes, shown being modelled at Studio Naenna.
Studio Naenna is a non-profit company and marketing arm for Weavers for the Environment (WFE), providing fair trade for skilled work. Its purpose is to conserve and preserve the ancient wisdom of traditional Thai ikat weaving and natural dyeing, using only environmentally friendly methods of textile production, thus preserving precious techniques for generations to come. Innovative surface designs by Patricia have brought Studio Naenna and WFE into the 21st century and into clients’ homes, weaving and designing both from the heart and from the community. Lamorna Cheesman continues this legacy as manager of both Studio Naenna locations in Chiang Mai.
The Patricia Cheesman Collection showcases several exhibits each year, making 30 year archives of original woven ikats, antique textiles, ceramics, furniture and collectables available to the public for purchase. Sales from Woven Wisdom will be used to raise funds and awareness to preserve and sustain the valuable traditional textile skills practiced by WFE’s over 100 village women. Invite their spirit into your collection, whilst breathing life into their future.
The exhibition will open on November 9, with the Opening Artist Reception taking place between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., and will close on February 28, 2009. For further information, please contact Lamorna on 081-595-8758, email on [email protected],com, or visit www. studio-naenna.com.The exhibition will take place at The Patricia Cheesman Collection Gallery, Studio Naenna, 138/8 Soi Changkhian, Huay Kaew Rd, T. Changpeuak, Chiang Mai.

Shown are traditional antique skirts from
Patricia Cheesman’s personal collection at Studio Naenna.


Akha traditional medicine to be promoted in Chiang Rai

PRD Chiang Rai
A workshop was held recently at the College of Folk and Alternative Medicine at Chiang Rai’s Rajabhat University, focusing on research projects in the field of traditional folk medicine undertaken by members of the Akha ethnic group. According to Kraisit Sittichodok, Akha tribespeople possess inherited knowledge of herbal and physical therapies going back almost 1,000 years, which are proving viable and successful in the 21st century.
It would seem that, due to the remote and mountainous location of many Akha villages and the duration and cost of non-local treatment for specific diseases, members of the ethnic group are preferring to seek traditional treatments in their own areas rather than travel to the lowlands to receive modern medical assistance. These treatments are proving successful in cases of paralysis and other illnesses.
As a result, a community hospital project and traditional medicine education centres are being set up, and simple folk medicine will be taught to hill tribe children and villagers. The community hospital project will be funded by the Japanese Embassy, and Mae Fah Luang, Mae Suay and Muang districts in Chiang Rai will receive medical service and education centres. In addition, a number of Akha students will be supported at Rabjahat University in their studies of alternative medicine as well as standard medical training.


Three Thai sites win UNESCO heritage awards for conservation projects

CMM Reporters
Three Thai sites have received awards in the 2008 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage awards given for sympathetic conservation and restoration projects in areas of cultural and historical significance. 45 entries from 13 Asian countries were submitted for consideration.
An award of merit was given to Lampang’s Wat Pongsanuk, with Samut Songkhram’s Amphawa Canal Community and the Crown Property Bureau’s building in Chachoengsao receiving honourable mention awards. The restoration of Wat Pongsanuk, a unique Lanna temple, was a community-led project, utilising the skills of local monks and residents as well as experts in traditional crafts and academic advisors, all supported by local authorities. The conservation of the traditional urban settlements alongside the Amphawa Canal and the sympathetic reconstruction of its historic buildings was considered by UNESCO as worthy of honourable mention due to the threat to similar areas throughout Thailand. The Crown Property Bureau’s Building in Chachoengsao Province had been extensively damaged by fire. Its restoration and the careful and historically researched manner in which it was undertaken has saved an important heritage site for the immediate area and the province.
The awards were presented to the Director of the Crown Property Bureau, Dr. Chirayu Isarangkun, by Sheldon Shaeffer, the director of UNESCO Bangkok, at Laddawan Palace on October 27.



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