A Rare Voice

The Red-Whiskered Bulbul is the most favoured songbird used in Koh SamuiThe most favoured songbird used in Thai traditional singing contests on Koh Samui is the Red-Whiskered Bulbul, known in Thai as a ‘Nok Parod’ or ‘Nok Krung Hua Juk’. There are actually 36 breeds of this bird, of the family called Pycnonotus Jocosus, all of which are protected species in Thailand.

The sport is one that involves only the birds themselves. A few hundred spectators, predominantly male, sit quietly along the perimeter of the field, and except for the occasional drone of a car engine, or the murmur of hushed conversation, the only sound comes from the choir of hundreds of birds. By hanging two cages close together, the owners prompt their captives to belt out a song to protect its territory, and during the following three or more hours, judges stop several times under each cage to listen, and award points for pitch and melody.

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2 Responses to A Rare Voice

  1. Maenam Samui says:

    Where can we find these competitions and how can we watch?

  2. You will see these competitions taking place around Koh Samui, and although you are not an invited guest, you are more than welcome to observe. The best approach is to quietly join a group standing on the sides and watch with amazement as the melodies carry you off with the Asian cultural winds of time.

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