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Thai protest rocker 'Nga Caravan' celebrated at last

His band provided soundtrack for 1970s students fighting military government

Nga Surachai Chanthimathon, founder of legendary Thai protest rock band Caravan, performs during his 75th birthday concert at the Thailand Cultural Centre on May 7. (Photo by Yumi Kajiwara)

BANGKOK -- "On Oct. 6, 1976, the darkest day in our history, Caravan played a concert in Khong Kaen. That's when we heard that the fascist Thai government was killing demonstrators in Bangkok. It was too dangerous to return to the capital. We fled into the jungle. We became fugitives," says Nga Surachai Chanthimathon.

In May, nearly half a century after that jungle day, Nga celebrated his 75th birthday with a star-studded concert at Bangkok's Thailand Cultural Centre that took the capacity audience on a musical trip back in time. Nga, a founder of the 1970s Thai rock group Caravan and former communist guerrilla, was backed by his son Phikanes on guitar and a host of guests including former band mate Thongkran Tana.

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