Asia Pacific Cultural Centre for UNESCO (ACCU)
Asia-Pacific Database on Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH)

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Lao P.D.R.

Pih Leu

Lue flute


Pih leu, Ban Pakchaek, Luang Prabang.

This instrument is often played during the Buddhist festivals observed by the Leu. The pih is made with a free reed made of silver.

Reasons for selection

Traditional instruments of minority groups are under-researched. As these groups modernize they are in danger of losing traditional ways of playing.

Area where performed

Mountainous regions in Northern Laos

Essential elements of the performing art


Detailed explanation

Pih leu is an ancient wind instrument played by the Leu tribe of Northern Laos, especially in Luang Prabang, Oudomxay and Xieng Khouang provinces. The pih leu is played by the left and right hand. The player puts the head of the pih into his mouth, where the reed of the pih is located and blows into the pipe to produce sounds. The pih is a ritual instrument played in important ceremonies during special sacred and solemn rituals of respect. The pih tuning is based on the five tones of models and written down in notes from C to A. The musical sound of the pih is made by resonation of the mouth, throat and lips combined with various rhythms, in fast or slow tempo that can be played.

Occasion for performance
Generally Leu people like to play this instrument at their traditional ceremonies and festivals also for their New Year, and the many Buddhist ceremonies, which Leu people like to organise throughout the year. Leu music is also played for ritual purposes of heading and processions.

Publication and textual documentation

not yet available

Audio documentation

not yet available

Visual documentation

not yet available

Institution/organisation involved in preservation and promotion

National School of Music and Dance

Data provider

Mr. Douangchampy Vouthisouk
National School of Music and Dance
Address: Vientiane, Lao P.D.R.