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Hats off for Don Mangiameli!

A few weeks ago, I was asked by a local agent I know to fix up a venue for a gig by legendary Bangkok Blues guitarist and singer Yamin. He was playing at a festival in Hua Hin and he wanted to play one gig in Phuket soon after. I had first seen Yamin play in Bangkok many years ago and so I knew of his great talent. He last played here five years ago when he did three gigs, including one on the Lad Yai walking street. I guess he felt he needed to show his face after all that time.

So I contacted Don at Michelangelo’s bar in Phuket Town, and he jumped at the chance to host the event. I just knew he would – he’s just so positive and wants to see things happening, so he was first choice, despite the venue being tiny. I knew it would be a struggle with any other larger Falang – focused bar – there would inevitably be less interest from owners. As for Blue Tree? The arena is far to big and it might well rain. Forget that!

I also made sure to link Yamin up with my friends Roger and Kaely from Gypsy Sun on drums and bass. (I knew they played with him five years ago.) OK, I get a free ticket, but there’s no money in this for me and not much for Don, just HUGE satisfaction for us both when it all comes off. It’s extremely rare to see visiting acts in expat bars here.

However, Thai Bangkok bands regularly play at Plernchit and Ther bars on the Seahorse (Nimit) Traffic Circle. They are smallish too, but they are always packed on such occasions. I am trying my best to market Yamin’s gig to Thais and expats which I hope will be similarly well-supported. Don is taking something of a risk.

And we need people running bars catering for falang like Don to take such risks, to entice bands and musos down now and then and make them feel welcome. Such acts help to break the monotony and help enrich live music here.

So hat’s off everyone – here’s a shout out for Don for making this happen.

And be there, don’t be square!


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