Monday, August 11, 2008

Yodrak Salakjai, Thai Luk Thung legend dies from liver cancer

Yodrak Salakjai, Thailand's legendary luk thung (Thai: ลูกทุ่ง) or rural country-folk song singer died from liver cancer on August 9, 2008, at the age of 52. He passed away at the early hours of Saturday at Rama 9 hospital, where he has been under treatment for cancer, since July 10. Yodrak was also known as the 'King of Luk Thung'.

Yodrak Salakjai (Thai: ยอดรัก สลักใจ) is the stage name of Niphon Phraiwan. He was born on February 6, 1956, in Phichit. Yodrak was a man of many talents as he has also starred in numerous movies and TV dramas, most of them with a musical theme. The singing legend is survived by his wife Ladda and their only son Kriangkrai, 32. His funeral rites will be held at Wat Rai Khing temple in Nakhon Pathom province for 100 days.

In the late 1970s, 'Yodrak fever' swept radio stations throughout Thailand. During his 30 years in the luk thung industry, Yodrak launched over 500 albums, with more than 4,000 songs. His best-known songs included 'Chakrayan khon jon' about a poor person's bicycle, 'Samsib yang Jaew' about a man admiring a 30-year-old woman who's still beautiful, and 'Kamnan kamnai' in which the singer is a headman promising a young woman special privilege is she agrees to marry him.

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