Our hearts go out to Thai people everywhere following the passing of King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand at the age of 88. Why are we writing about him here? Because besides being a (mostly) loved monarch for 70 years, he was also a musician who wrote more than 40 compositions, a number of which have been transcribed by classical guitarists. He wrote orchestral music, blues (one of his most famous compositions is called “Candelight Blues”), pop, and jazz, and he played reeds, (particularly saxophone), trumpet, piano, and guitar, among other instruments. He appeared in many concerts and played on the radio and TV both in Thailand and on foreign visits.
A German guitarist named Hucky Eichelmann, who has lived in Thailand since the late ‘70s and is very popular all over Asia, put out two discs of the King’s compositions arranged for classical guitar in 1999 and 2001, and just last year, the winner of the Guitar Foundation of America’s 2014 competition, Thai guitarist Ekachai Jearakul, included three tunes written by King Bhumibol Adulyadej on his debut CD in the Naxos Laureate series—the arrangements were done by noted guitarists William Kanengiser, Andrew York, and Frederic Hand, so the king obviously had admirers far and wide in the CG community. (Jearakul had previously released a CD called The Music of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej.)
Here’s an audio clip (with visuals) of Jearakul playing one of the King’s pieces, No Moon.