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Kengchakaj (Keng), เก่งฉกาจ
A profile photo of Kengchakaj (Keng), a Southeast Asian man adjusting knobs on synthesizers with blue vertical graphic lines from the projection light shining on his face. He has a mustache and medium-length straight hair.

Portrait of Eyebeam Democracy Machine Fellow 2024, Kengchakaj (Keng) of elekhlekha. Photo credit: Apiwich(@apiwichbang) Courtesy of the artist.

Date and place of birth
b. 1989, Bangkok, Thailand
Current location
Brooklyn, NY
Year(s) of residency and/or fellowship
2024, Democracy Machine Fellow
Member of
elekhlekha อีเหละเขละขละ

Kengchakaj is a Bangkok-born, Brooklyn-based award-winning improviser and composer. His musical idiom is rooted in the aesthetics of Southeast Asia culture and African-American Creative Music; both are improvisational sound-based practices.

Kengchakaj researched the contradiction and alteration of sound identities, thoughts, experiences, and feelings he calls Lak-Lan (ลักลั่น). By juxtaposing different materials and concepts such as Thai tuning, the Blues, layered rhythms, electronics, soundscapes, textures, and emotions, Kengchakaj composes and improvises sounds that unify seemingly opposite ideas and make room for new directions.

Kengchakaj moved to New York City with funding from the Fulbright Scholarship to pursue a Master’s degree at the Manhattan School of Music (class of 2017). His debut album Lak Lan (2019), has been featured in major publications such as Downbeat Magazine, Jazziz Magazine, and The NYC Jazz Record. Kengchakaj was an artist in residency at the Banff Center for Arts and Creativity (2018) and Babycastles (2020). Kengchakaj received project development funds from The Queens Council on the Arts and NY City Artist Corps to produce Atta-Anatta (2021), a solo multimedia performance premiere at Jamaica Center for the Arts and Learning. Kengchakaj participated in Nusa Sonic’s Common Tonalities project (2022), led by Khayam Allami, exploring Southeast Asian tuning systems through modern music technologies.

Eyebeam models a new approach to artist-led creation for the public good; we are a non-profit that provides significant professional support and money to exceptional artists for the realization of important ideas that wouldn’t exist otherwise. Nobody else is doing this.

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