In Luang Prabang, there is the opportunity to listen to some traditional Lao storytelling and I cannot recommend it enough!
Aside from travelling, my biggest interest is definitely reading. I love fiction, and I especially love reading books set in the countries I visit.
Traditional stories are so important due to their important role in many cultures. It was the top of my list of things to do while I was there and as soon as I’d checked into my hostel, I went straight to that evening’s performance.
The company is called Garavek and they have a performance every night at 6:30pm. It costs 50,000 kip which is just over £4.
Our storyteller for the evening told us that he was going to focus primarily on stories based in Luang Prabang. He told us a story about the origins of Phusi Hill in the centre of town, along with a tragic story about two lovers who now lie together across the river. His choice of stories was fantastic as it meant afterwords, you were able to actually visit the locations mentioned in the stories. I climbed Phusi Hill the following day and was able to see the two mountains that represent the two lovers from the stories.
We also heard a storie about Xieng Mieng, a clever trickster who appears in many Lao stories.
If you are interested in reading some Lao stories, This website contains several which serve as a great introduction to the folklore. Only one of them was included in the evening so you won’t spoil it for yourself.
Storytelling isn’t just about the stories, but about the atmosphere. How you tell a story has a huge influence on the audience.
The location was a very small room with a total of 30 seats. This created an intimate, cosy atmosphere. The lights were very low so that you could focus on just their voices.
The storyteller was accompanied by a traditional musician who played the khene. The khene is a Laotian mouth organ made out of bamboo.
The background music really helped build the atmosphere for the stories. Every so often the storyteller would also use a drum, especially during tales involving royalty.
The entire experience was incredible and I could have spent hours listening to them.
Is an evening of Lao storytelling something that appeals to you? Have you visited any similar experiences in other countries? What did you think of them?