Pattaya Daily News

11 August 2009 :: 23:08:17 pm 2431

Tukta Kongget Sings at Cafe de Jomtien

Tukta Kongget, 40, the amiable songstress of Café de Jomtien, hails from Chiang Mai. She went to Chiang Mai College, at 18, where she studied travel and tourism; a career choice that was to stand her in good a stead, though by far her first love is playing the guitar, which she’s now been playing for 22 years. She learnt English whilst at college, which gave her access to arena of English songs; by far the biggest musical repertoire in the world.
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She literally fell in love with Country and Western music, which she much prefers to Thai music. When I asked Tukta why this was, as it’s somewhat unusual for Thais to forsake their musical heritage, she said that Thai songs just don’t have the range and depth of emotion that English songs do. English is a magical language, with words that are intensely meaningful and profound, perfect for passionate expressions of love, hate, longing, tenderness and the whole gamut of the passions. English songs also allow you to use the whole voice range, whereas, she says, Thai songs are limited and the controlled, tight mouthed form of Thai pronunciation also inhibits the full emotional expression, which she so appreciates.

Over the 22 years she’s been playing, Tukta has managed to include virtually the full range of English music to her repertoire. She can play classic rock, rhythm and blues, love songs, songs of life and pop, amongst others. Some of her favourite artists are the Eagles, Jackson Brown, Linda Ronstadt, Dolly Parton, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Kansun, CCR, the Scorpions, and the Who. Many of these songs you’ll hear her singing at Café de Jomtien, where she’s the resident singer, seven nights a week.

She toyed with various jobs in tourism, advertising, freelance journalism, local radio, travel and other commercial enterprises in Chiang Mai, Hat Yai, Rayong, Chonburi, Phitsanluk, and latterly Pattaya, where she worked briefly for Raimon Land. However, all these were effectively stop gaps compared to her abiding passion, which is playing music.

She started playing in college and then in various bands in Chiang Mai. Chiang Mai is predominantly a young tourist town, attracting many straight from the Kao San Road. Needless to say, the vast majority of these are English speakers, who naturally enough have a preference for English music. Tukta did the round of the touristic cafes and bars where she had the chance to get to know many Brits, Americans, Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders – English language speakers, in short, both tourists and cafe owners. Immersing herself in this rich accent mix, she son perfected her pronunciation, much more so than she ever did in college, which comes out so well in her songs. She really enjoyed the cafe circuit – it’s her life blood – and was well appreciated, so much so that she built up a loyal following.

Being a popular lady, she’s had more boyfriends than she can count on her fingers, but surprisingly enough, (to me at least) all Thais. She says she never managed to break through the relationship barrier to summon up enough courage to actually manage an intimate relationship with a farang, although she’s had lots of farang friends. She’s had three major relationships, one of which produced a daughter, who she dotes on, is now eight years old and takes up most her time when she’s not singing.

As for the future, it will inevitably involve music. She rather fancies opening a music shop and teaching singing the guitar and also the klong drums, which she also plays. She thinks she’ll probably gravitate up to the Chiang Mai region again, where she feels most at home, especially as it’s where English can be most readily be heard.

For the moment, you can hear for yourselves how well Tukta sings by going along and listening to her every night at Café de Jomtien. You won’t be disappointed.

Reporter : Sirithanon   Photo : PDN staff   Category : Eating

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