The Royal Coast Review first met Will Robinson at the 2020 Bangkok release of the musical video ‘Where the Eagles Fly’, a production by The Isan Project launched to pay tribute to the British hero of the dramatic Tham Luang Cave rescue, Vern Unsworth.
That launch was a collaboration with the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), represented by Tanes Petsuwan, the TAT’s Deputy Governor of Marketing Communications and graced by former Tourism & Sports Minister, Weerasak Kowsurat.
We also met Vern and his partner, Woranan Ratrawiphakkun plus his caving buddy Kamon Kunngamkwamdee, who all starred in the music video. The vision from the video was from the deep jungle and caves in the mountains of Doi Nang Non in Chiang Rai set to Will’s song – “Where the Eagles Fly”, with vocals by Daniel Ryan.
That launch was a very emotion-laded event and a fantastic opportunity to understand more about the heroes of the cave rescue. But it was also our introduction to the creativity and musical production skills of Will Robinson and his ongoing exploration of the sounds and sights of northern Thailand; the Isan Project.
Another important thing we learnt was that Will calls Hua Hin home. That meant that alongside the Siam Winery Director of Food & Beverages, Guido Campigotto, he later agreed to become a VIP guest at the recent RCR event; the Hua Hin Wine Expo, staged at the InterContinental Hua Hin Resort.
But Will’s involvement in the Wine Expo was much more than as a passive guest, especially with his presentation of an exclusive preview of the latest ‘Isan Project’ production, ‘This is the Moment’, co-written by Daniel Ryan, featuring vocals by Disney’s Sonna Rele who had a smash hit with ‘’Strong” from the soundtrack of Cinderella and Erik Hargrove as the percussionist who is best known for the years he spent performing all over the world with the late great James Brown.
This video presentation was accompanied by an inspired performance by a bevy of Thai dancers; somehow conjured up by Will as yet another demonstration of his entrepreneurial spirit.
As the Wine Expo was raising funds for the SOS Food Rescue Foundation in Hua Hin, Will was very eager to ensure the success of the RCR charity event. Our sincere thanks to him for his generosity and to the entourage of beautiful dancers for sharing these magical moments with an enraptured audience.
To learn more about the Isan Project and the creative force behind this venture, the Royal Coast Review was able to meet with Will after the Wine Expo at his home base in Hua Hin, a very desirable Hillside Hamlet pool villa.
As a first take, Will may seem to be an unlikely musical writer and producer. Although his mother was a piano teacher, Will has never leant to play an instrument or to write musical notations. Instead, he follows the advice of an early mentor, the late Robin Gibb of Bee Gees fame.
Gibb has been described as “one of the major figures in the history of British music” and “one of the best white soul voices ever”. His advice to Will was to always “make the melody shine’’; a mantra that Will follows to this day.
Along the way Will has some unexpected claims to fame. Manchester United fans will have heard the musical strains from the stands of Old Trafford as the masses supporting ‘The Reds’, sing ‘’Glory, Glory Man Únited”. This is just one of Will’s compositions and productions. Or perhaps your phone ringtone could be one of the many composed by Will. A future autobiography could aptly be subtitled “Music is My Life”.
But discussing the journey and future of the Isan Project is when Will’s passion for musical production really shines. His understanding of ‘Mor Lam’, a term for the music, fashion, dance and perhaps the soul of Isan, is based on extensive travels throughout the region and especially time spent at his favourite northern location of Chiang Rai.
These explorations have meant discovering the traditional sounds of Isan musical instruments such as the three stringed phin guitar and understanding how these distinctive sounds can integrate with western music and rhythms. Producing that groove is made harder due to the handmade production of the instruments and tuning difficulties, but helped by player improvisation, a very important part of Isan music.
Productions of the Isan Project have featured Mor Lam traditions and the beauty of the northern Thailand countryside, but now his creative talents are being turned towards a broader tourism focus. This includes collaborations with tourism bodies to promote destination Thailand as the nation readies for the return international travellers.
Hua Hin’s exclusive preview of the Isan Project production, ‘This is the Moment’, was also a preview of a new magic moment tourism concept as a new song to promote Thailand, set to be launched in June this year.
Over the coming months Will and his production crew will be visiting around 18 destinations, including around Hua Hin, capturing some amazing images for a four minute video to be set to his evocative melodies and lyrics.
‘This is the Moment’ is set to be much more than just an amazing musical production, but to become symbolic of the rebirth of Hua Hin and Thailand tourism. The Royal Coast Review is promised to be the first media outlet to be able to feature the finished product; we can’t wait for this magical moment!
Editor’s Comment: Our thanks to Will Robinson for sharing his passion for the sights and sounds of Thailand with the Royal Coast Review and our readers. Our concluding conversation with Will turned to a suggestion that to better market our region, a ‘Royal Coast Project’ could become a future focus of Will’s creative talents; he’s thinking about that!