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From Fiddle to Phin: Ethan's Experience of Storytelling through Music 

Blog Article: From Fiddle to Phin: Ethan’s Experience of Storytelling through Music 

As a Volunteer in Thailand, I found myself immersed in a vibrant tapestry of culture, language, and traditions. Yet amidst the bustling streets and beautiful, scenic, landscapes, it was the universal love for music that harmonised my experiences from The Highlands of Scotland with my home away from home.  

From traditional Ceilidh music (on the fiddle) or Scottish Folk Rock (on the guitar) or even just a bit of Burns poetry – these are all ways I have shared my passion and stories about my home with the amazing family I have found myself a part of in rural Thailand. Especially at celebrations and parties, I find myself playing music with friends and trading stories through songs until the early hours of the morning. I’ve enjoyed playing Flower of Scotland, Loch Lomond, Scotland the Brave and of course, Auld Lang Syne. I had the pleasure of bringing in the bells on New Year’s Eve with my friend T.Soo (the music teacher at school) and his family. We shared a particularly Scottish moment, and all sang along as I played Auld Lang Syne on the guitar.

Having recently bought a violin from Chum Phae, I have been teaching friends the Scottish fiddle and in return they have taught me the Thai Phin. The Thai Phin is a traditional instrument in north eastern Thailand.

Amid preparing for the upcoming English exams at school, I have also been practicing playing the Thai Phin with my fellow teachers at Baan Faidinsor, which has been a great way to connect and share stories. My friends here in Thailand have noticed my passion for sharing music from home and as a result, I have been asked to perform at my friend T.Aum’s wedding later this month. This will be my first experience of a Thai wedding and while there will be lots of traditional elements, I will be bringing some Scottish stories to the event by playing the fiddle. I am very humbled to have this opportunity and it really reaffirms how music is an integral part of both Thai and Scottish culture.  

Being able to teach students and fellow teachers about traditional Scottish music and learn traditional Thai music in return has been a wonderful new experience for me. I’m just so glad this exchange of storytelling is in a language I understand – notes, chords and songs.

Learn more about what it’s like to Volunteer in Thailand by visiting our country page here.

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