I went to the first ever Lao Music Awards this past weekend.
It was a pretty interesting experience. I paid 24,000 Kip (about $3) for a seat in the very back of the upper balcony at the National Culture Hall. Which meant I saw hardly anything. But I was able to discern a lot of choreographed dances and lip-sync performances, several long-winded ministerial speeches in Lao, and a few awards being won. It was really fun, and surprisingly well put together for the first ever edition. Our seats were in the teenager/plebeian section, and the whole area went wild when “L.O.G.” won the award for best hip-hop group. There were a few other good groups that played, and this dude and some girl did a heart warming rendition of “I swear” that almost brought me to tears. There were also a few traditional acts, including that mind-numbing nasally singing accompanied by lo-fi synthesizer music that seems so prevalent in developing countries. One of the nice things about the awards show was that all of the people were dressed really nicely, even the Lao “Britney Spears” type girl was basically fully covered in clothing and not revealing much skin, and some of the awards presenters actually were wearing “Sins”, the Lao traditional silk saraong.
The whole event was sponsored by Close-up toothpaste, and Tigo, Lao’s worst mobile phone service provider. When ever some one won an award, they would be presented with a basket of toothpaste, and a giant check for a million kip. We joked that it was for free Tigo credit. Little did know, we were right on.
The winners received 1 million kip (about $100) worth of FREE TIGO CREDIT. Worst. Prize. Ever.
I also ate some fried bugs and grilled frogs yesterday with the ladies at work.
To be honest, I didn’t actually “eat” much of either dish. But I did at least TRY both of them.