Hucky Eichelmann plays Payap
guitarist Hucky Eichelmann played and toured Northern Thailand, including
holding workshops for interested students. Here he is, performing at Payap.
(Photo courtesy of Hucky Eichelmann).
By Shana Kongmun
Synonymous in Thailand with the classical guitar, long time favorite Hucky
Eichelmann played at Payap earlier this month and took time out of his busy
schedule to talk to the Chiang Mai Mail about his start in the music
business and the long and fascinating journey it took him on from his
beginnings in the Black Forest area of Germany.
Growing up in a musical family he started on brass instruments, like so many
others in his family and indeed the province where he grew up is famous for
“I started playing the trumpet at 7. I always wanted to play the guitar but
my whole family played brass instruments and they needed a trumpet player so
that’s what I got to play,” he said with a chuckle.
“However,” he said, “at the age of 12 I got lucky and got hit in the tooth
and broke it. That was the end of my trumpet career. I immediately went out
and bought an electric guitar.” He added that he wasn’t sure if his father
was more dismayed by the guitar or by the big bill. He noted that it was
difficult to find good teachers but he finally found one who could teach him
and he trained for about 8 months to audition for the College of Performing
Arts. He added that there were 44 candidates and he was the one chosen.
He said the school not only taught their students how to play music but to
also teach it, adding that the academic side of education cannot be ignored
since not everyone has the talent or determination to make it in music
professionally. His first job was at the University of the Philippines. When
he finished he returned to Germany but realized that he had left his heart
in Asia and when the St. Cecilia Academy of Music, the first music academy
in Thailand, sent him an invitation letter he was on the first plane
“I’ve never looked back and never regretted it” he says of the return to
live in Asia in 1979. He said classical guitar was not really popular, “It
felt like people didn’t understand what I was playing. So I started to
listen to the music of HM the King on the radio and realized I wanted to an
album of his music set to guitar.”
“I asked the King for his permission to record his music for an albm and got
approval within 3 days. It had to be done quickly as he wanted to give an
album as a gift to the King of Belgium on his visit. That first album sold a
Due to the increased popularity of guitar after that he was involved in
teaching classical guitar at Chulalongkorn. He also started playing overseas
more and notes that people were amazed that the King of Thailand composed
music. “He is the only reigning monarch that plays and composes music.”
Hucky went on to further heights with his next album titled Kum Ka Kum Kai
with Assani Jutikham, a famous Thai musician who introduced him to the
audience at a concert at Thammasat University. “The warm up band got bottles
thrown at them, the crowds were pretty rough in those days. I was so nervous
but I walked out and started playing Isaan music on the guitar and they
This was followed by another pop album that proved popular, so popular that
Hucky said he lost his privacy. Everywhere he went people would want to
touch his hand, “it became a bit overwhelming, I would end up staying home
So, he started travelling as a goodwill ambassador for the German Foreign
Ministry promoting German culture abroad. He was involved in the 1st
Thailand Festival of Arts with guest performers Ravi Shankar, the Gypsy
Kings and a Chinese pianist. The 2nd Festival was held in 1998 and then the
Asian Economic collapse put an end to the sponsorships and the yearly
Festival. Instead he became involved in organizing a series of visiting
artists including the Stuttgart Ballet for the Queen’s 72nd Birthday.
One of the highlights of his career was the first time he played for HM the
King. The other was at a concert in London in honor of HM the King’s
birthday, where he said, he ended up having gallstone surgery only four days
before. But he went on to play and gave the Thai Ambassador great peace of
mind. “He was worried I would cancel. Any other concert and I would have,
but I couldn’t cancel this one.”
He looks forward to working again with Ravi Shankar, a collaboration that
has been put off time and again, either by his schedule or by Ravi
Shankar’s. He is also looking forward to getting a new handcrafted
“Schnabel” guitar from Germany. He said 25 years ago he played in Germany
and Gerhardt Schnabel said he would build a guitar for the King of Thailand.
Out of blue he gets a call, “the guitar is ready.” Flabbergasted, Hucky
couldn’t think what guitar. Apparently he had picked the finest woods aged
them and when they were ready handcrafted a guitar to be presented to HM the
Hucky is currently on a tour of Thailand to promote is latest album of music
and is busy planning the next!
A First Solo Recital at the Santi Music School
“Boo” Chatchakul gave his first solo performance at Santi School of Music,
further shows are planned for Sangdee Gallery on September 29, 2012.
By Jai Pee
Noppadol Chatchakul, known affectionately as Boo to all his friends
and admirers gave his first solo recital to an appreciative audience in the
intimate and delightful salon of Santi’s Music School on September 1st. Boo
is 27 years old and has developed a mellow and velvety baritone voice which
is pleasing on the ear. He has been a teacher at the music school for 5
years and this was his first entirely solo venture, previously having sung a
number or two in between other performers. And it was a most successful
start for this delightful young man, full of radiant smiles and good humor.
From the opening notes of Henry Purcell’s aria ‘Music For a While’ it was
obvious that Boo had been practicing hard. His voice did not waver and he
coped equally well with both the higher ranges and the lower ones which this
In the second number by Purcell, Boo
showed that he could cope with faster melodic lines well, breathing
appropriately so as not to lose the legato passages which he phrased well.
He moved on to sing the ever-popular aria ‘Voi Che Sapete’ from Act II of
Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro.
This is a most challenging piece
written originally for soprano and this version a good transposition – Boo
not only coped with the various subtleties of intonation, but he gave the
audience a little bit of theatrical drama as well through his facial
expressions and gestures. Boo went on to delight us with songs in English,
French and Italian and what was so remarkable, as a member of the audience
pointed out afterwards, was his command of all these languages – his diction
in all of them was near perfect and again this is the fruition of hours of
devoted practice. Boo completed his set of songs with the all-time favourite
of Rodgers and Hammerstein ‘Some Enchanted Evening’ and the famous ‘New
York, New York’, which had a marvelous twist to it – the words ‘Chiang Mai,
Chiang Mai’ being substituted for the original words, much to the delight of
Boo completed the evening with an
encore of one of his songs which he performed from the piano Elton John
style – a love song sung in Thai which in itself was yet another treat.
Apart from this last encore, Boo was accompanied throughout by Ajaan Santi
whose playing in this fashion is always a delight. It is so good to see and
hear new talent as it emerges on the music scene and we owe a great deal not
just to Boo who performed so well, but to the initiative displayed by Ajaan
Santi for promoting one of his staff in this manner.
If you missed the recital last
Saturday, then you can catch Boo again at the Sangdee Gallery in
Sirimangklanjan Soi 5 on September 29th at 7.30pm or at the Dara Music
School on Namphong Road on October 14th at 6.00pm. Both evens have free
New paintings for a closing
artist Sinfaii Chaiyasith stands in front of her latest work on display at
Sangdee Gallery on Sirimangkalajarn Soi 5. Not resting on the work of her
exhibition titled “Too Scary to Hang” Fai, as she is known, continued to
paint and showed her latest few works on the closing night of her
exhibition. Here she is with one of her newer pieces.