Music & Dancing

In most or rural Xiengkhouang, entertainment means sitting around with friends over a few jiggers of lao-lao, telling jokes or recounting the events of the day and singing pheng pheun meuang (folk songs).

Religious and seasonal festivals are an important venue for Lao folk and pop music performances - see the Public Holidays & Special Events section earlier in this chapter for details.
 Almost every provincial capital has a couple of dance halls (banthoeng; roughly 'nightclub') - called 'discos' by the. Lao in English in spite of the fact that they usually host live bands nightly and play no recorded music. Food as well as drinks are always available at Lao dance. halls, though most people drink rather than eat. By government decree, the music is mostly Xiengkhouang. though in the north and north-east you'll also hear Chinese and Vietnamese songs mixed into the repertoire,
 Western pop songs arc expressly forbidden but bands will slip them in occasionally or improvise Lao lyrics to make them more acceptable to the music police, Fortunately there is no prohibition on dance styles, which ill any given place may vary from the traditional lam wong to American country-style line dancing to wiggle-your- hips-and-dangle-your-fingertips pop styles - all in one night. You'll even see a foxtrot now and then. In Vientiane foreign embassies (particularly the French and US) sponsor occasional pop, rock or classical concerts.