traditional Khaen music listed as world intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO

Laos’ khaen music has been named as a World Intangible Cultural Heritage of UNESCO by the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Played with a mouth organ that resembles panpipes but made with bamboo tubes of varying lengths, each with a metal reed, the player blows into the instrument through an air chamber with the sound produced depending on the size of the tube.

Khaen music is popular in all regions of Laos due to its harmonic richness. It is usually an incremental part of village festivals and it is customary for people listening to it to become active participants in the songs and dances, rather than mere spectators. Families play an important role in transmitting the art and khaen player associations exist in many local communities where young people can learn the art.