Kengchakaj Kengkarnka (Gheng/chAH /kad) (Gheng /ghan/kAH)
is a Bangkok-born, New York-based award-winning improviser, pianist, and composer. Recipient of a 2015 Fulbright Open Competition Award.
Kengkarnka’s work focuses on using improvisation-based music as a tool intended to create collective participation among people, and fabricated empathy towards another. His idiom is rooted in African American derived music infused with the aesthetics of, so-called, “Thai” flavor. Kengchakaj currently interested in research on the topic of the contradiction in identity, thoughts, and feelings, he called “Lak Lan,” derives from a Thai word that can be translated as juxtaposition, dichotomy, or paradox.
Kengchakaj has won numerous awards internationally, including Best Soloist of the Thailand International Jazz Conference Solo Competition (TIJC) in 2013, and First Prize in both the Ensemble (2013) and Individual Performance (2011) categories of the Thailand Jazz Competition (TJC). Kengchakaj earned his Master’s degree in Jazz Arts from Manhattan School of Music in 2017.