ไม่ต้องร้องไห้ Mai Dtong Rong Hai (Don’t Cry)

Lyrics by Add Carabao (Yeunyong Opakul)
Melody by Bob Marley and the Wailers
Album: รัฐฉานตำนานที่โลกลืม (The Legendary Shan State that the World has Forgotten) (2007)

Note: This song is in support of people from the Tai (or Shan) ethnic group fighting Myanmar (Burmese) soldiers in the Shan State. It uses the tune from “No Woman, No Cry” by Bob Marley and the Wailers. The title of the Bob Marley song, actually means “Woman, Don’t Cry” and similarly the title of this song also means “Don’t Cry” although word for word, it is ‘You Don’t Need to Cry.” Also check out Add Carabao interpretation of Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song”(the first verse of which is a close translation of the original English-language song).

โอ้ ไม่ต้องร้องให้
Oh, no need to cry
โอ้ ไม่ต้องร้องให้
Oh, no need to cry

ดูดู ดูความทุกข์เขาสิ
Look, look, look at their suffering
มันยังคงกดทับเจ็บปวด
They still being stepped on and wounded
อย่างไม่มีผู้ใดสนพวกเขาเลย
like no one pays any attention to them at all
พอมีความหวังไหม อยู่ ณ แห่งหนใด
Is there any hope from anywhere
จะมาช่วยแก้ไข ความตาย จำเจจับเจ่า
coming to fix the monotonous death?

ฉันอยากจะร้องก้องโลก ให้ก้องฟ้าอากาศ
I want to sing to the world. Have it echo through the air
เพื่อล่องลอยข่าวสาร
In order to have the news sail out

จงเข้าใจผู้คนที่นี่
You must understand the people here
เขาอยู่กินอย่างผู้มีบาป
They live and eat like a person who has sin [like a person being punished for sin]
มีแต่ความหวังแต่เพียงอย่างเดียว
There is just hope, but only that.

โอ้ ไม่ต้องร้องให้
Oh, no need to cry
โอ้ ไม่ต้องร้องให้
Oh, no need to cry

โอ้ ไม่ต้องร้องให้
Oh, no need to cry
โอ้ ไม่ต้องร้องให้
Oh, no need to cry

ดูดู ดูความหมายเขาบ้าง
Look, look, look at their meaning a minute
เขาคือพี่น้องร่วมโลก
They are brothers and sisters together with the [rest of the] world
โลกที่หลับสับสนวุ่นวาย
The world that sleeps confused and chaotic
บางคนจึงลุกขึ้นสู้…จับปืนเพื่อเสรีภาพ
So some people get up and fight . . . grab guns for freedom
แต่บางคนฉกฉวย น่าละอาย ไม่เคยเผื่อแผ่
But some people snatch and steal, are shameful, never generous
ที่ใดมีทุกข์ ที่นั่นย่อมมีผู้ยิ่งใหญ่
Wherever there is suffering, there you are likely to find heroes [great people]
ฉันขอส่งแรงใจให้เธอ
I would like to send strength of heart to you
เมื่อสู้แล้วย่อมมีผล.. ชัยชนะหรือล้มลง
When you fight, there are naturally results . .. win or lose
จงก้าวไปปักธง..เหนือแผ่นดินแม่ อย่าไปท้อแท้
Go forward and plant a flag . . . over the motherland. Don’t be discouraged

รวมพลังจะมีชัยชนะ
Join strengths and there will be victory [together we will win]
(4X)

ฉันจะอยู่ข้างเธอ
I will be beside you

คนไม่มีสิทธิ์ Kon Mai Mee Sit (Someone with No Right)

From the OST of the drama ลูกผู้ชายหัวใจเพชร [Man with a Diamond Heart] that ran on Channel 7 in mid 2002.
Lyrics and Music by Sutee Saengsareechon
Sung by Hugo (Lek) Chackrabongse Levy.

Note: In mid 2002, Add (Yuenyong Opakul) and younger musician Hugo were in a nightime television drama together ลูกผู้ชายหัวใจเพชร [Man with a Diamond Heart]. Hugo starred in the drama as Phet (the name means Diamond) and Add played his father Nop. Thierry Mekwattana was also in the drama. This is a song from the OST (original soundtrack) of that drama sung by Hugo. This official music video includes scenes with Add. For more information about Hugo, his music, and his connections to Carabao check out this article in the Backstage section of this website..

Music video sung by Hugo with clips from the movie, including scenes with Add:

อยากรู้ ใจเธอมีฉันหรือเปล่า
I want to know if your heart has mine [in it] or not
อยากรู้ ว่าเธอได้ยินบ้างไหม
I want to know if you have heard something
ก็เสียงใจมันบอก ว่ารักเธอมากมาย ร่ำร้องเรียกภายในใจเท่านั้น
Because my heart has been saying I love you so much, [but] only calling out within the heart
ก็รู้ว่าคงเป็นไปไม่ได้ ก็ไม่ต้องการให้เธอเสียใจ
And it knows it’s probably not possible, so you don’t need to feel regret
แค่คนๆ เดียว ไม่มีค่าเท่าไร กลัวฉันไปทำลายหัวใจเธอ
It’s just one person only, who isn’t worth that much [who’s] afraid I’m going to go wreck your heart.
ฉันมันคนไม่มีสิทธิ์ ถ้าคิดรักเธอจะผิดไหม
I’m someone with no right. If I think of loving you, is that wrong?
ขอช่วยทำให้ฉันมั่นใจ ว่าเธอคือคนนั้น ที่ฉันรอ
Please help me to be sure that you are the one I’ve been waiting for

ไม่รู้ต้องทนอีกนานเท่าไร ไม่รู้ต้องรออีกนานแค่ไหน
I don’t know how much longer I will have to endure it. I don’t know just how much longer I’m going to have to wait
ไม่รู้เลยจริงๆ ว่าควรทำเช่นไร ให้เธอรู้ความในใจว่ารักเธอ
I really don’t know what I should do to let you know what is in my heart––that I love you
ฉันมันคนไม่มีสิทธิ์ ถ้าคิดรักเธอจะผิดไหม
I’m someone with no right. If I think of loving you, is that wrong?
ขอช่วยทำให้ฉันมั่นใจ ว่าเธอคือคนนั้น ที่ฉันรอ
Please help me to be sure that you are the one I’ve been waiting for

ไม่รู้ต้องทนอีกนานเท่าไร ไม่รู้ต้องรออีกนานแค่ไหน
I don’t know how much longer I will have to endure it. I don’t know just how much longer I’m going to have to wait
ไม่รู้เลยจริงๆ ว่าควรทำเช่นไร ให้เธอรู้ความในใจว่ารักเธอ
I really don’t know what I should do to let you know what is in my heart––that I love you
ไม่รู้เลยจริงๆ ว่าควรทำเช่นไร ให้เธอรู้ว่าในใจ… ฉันรักเธอ
I really don’t know what I should do to let you know what is in my heart . . . I love you

รักคุณเท่าฟ้า Rak Kun Tao Fah (Love You to the Sky!) in SINGABLE ENGLISH

Lyrics by แอ๊ด คาราบาว Aed Carabao (ยืนยง โอภากุล Yuenyong Opakul);
Melody by Aed Carabao and เทียรี่ เมฆวัฒนา Thierry Mekwattana

Album: รวมเพลง Ruam Playng (A Collection of Songs)

According to Thai Wikipedia, Khun Aed wrote this song for Thai Airways to use in their advertising, and he came up with it while flying back and forth on Thai Airways touring for concerts.  It perfectly captures the feeling of looking out the window of an airplane. This is the singable English translation. Below is the voice clip, which is purely for demo purposes, or try to sing along with the video in Thai. The direct translation is HERE.

If I could fly away like a bird
I would soar way up in the sky
If I could float and ride on the wind
I’d look back around on the ground

Our big, wide world below is quite a sight
The more you look, the more delight

The expanse of sea’s colored blue
The expanse of land’s colored green
Perhaps you’ve heard some people complain
Where can this world’s beauty be seen?

The world spreads out below so vast and wide
The more you look, the more surprise

Beauty and love they both from nature start
People then paint in colors from their heart
The sky, the sea, the dirt, rocks, sand, and we
Through good and bad, building our country

If you fly away like a bird
When you soar way up in the sky
When you ride and float on the wind
Look back down around on the ground
Our big, wide world below is quite a sight
The more you look, the more delight

This song is from the sky … so far up high
Sending my thoughts to people far and near
A message true from viewing way up here:
The sky goes on and on; people don’t live there.

มาร์ช 40 ปี คาราบาว March See Sip Bee (40th Year Carabao March)

Album: 40 ปี ฅนคาราบาว See Sip Bpee Kon Carabao (40 Years of Carabao People) [Ye Olde Carabao Band: 40 Years]
Lyrics: ยืนยง โอภากุล Yuenyong Opakul, aka Add Carabao, and ปรีชา ชนะภัย Preecha Chanapai, aka Lek Carabao
Composer: ปรีชา ชนะภัย Preecha Chanapai, aka Lek Carabao

Note: This song is a “march” (using the borrowed English word) and the music video shows a march of Carabao albums and pictures through time. More speculatively, the word “march” is similar to the word “Caravan” (the name of a band that preceded and inspired Carabao). I only bring this up because of the way the writer of the lyrics is playing with the spelling of “ฅน” (kon or people) with the obsolete letter “k” in the phrase “kon Carabao” (Carabao people, or Buffalo people). Caravan spelled the name of their band, starting with this same obsolete letter “k,” the ฅ “kor-kon” (k is for people) rather than the ค “kor-kwai” (k is for buffalo).

ดุจดังวิหคนกกามาร้องเพลง
Like a raven* singing songs
ขับกล่อมบรรเลงเป็นบทเพลงเป็นดนตรี
A soothing rhythm, creating songs, to be lyrics, to be music
ฅนคาราบาว 40 ปี ฅนคาราบาว 40 ปี
40 years of Carabao people, 40 years of Carabao people [“ฅน” people, is spelled with the obsolete “k-kon” (“k is for people”)]
เพื่อชีวิตยืนยาวถึงวันนี้
For Life, standing strong** until today
วันที่โลกลองดีต่อระบอบปกครอง
Today the world tries to resist the regime
เก่าไปใหม่มานะพี่น้อง
Brothers and sisters, the old goes [and] the new comes, huh?**
พี่ไม่ต้องน้องทำเอง อยากได้ยินคำๆ นี้
Us older siblings don’t need you younger siblings to do it yourselves. [We] want [you] to listen to these words here.

40 ปี คาราบาวก้าวผ่านมา
40 years of Carabao striding on until now
ผ่านกาลเวลาและเรื่องราวมากมาย
Though the passage of time and so many stories
เดินทางมายาวนานประสบการณ์นำมาเขียนเพลง
Having traveled so long, [we] we take our experiences and write songs
ร่วมร้องบรรเลงบทเพลงจากใจ
Together singing and making music from the heart

วงดนตรีนี้สัญลักษณ์เขาควาย
The symbol of this band is the buffalo horns
สื่อความหมายของผู้คนใช้แรงงาน
Conveying the meaning of the laborers
ร่วมสร้างร่วมสานสิ่งสร้างสรรค์ให้สังคมไทย
Together building and weaving creative things for Thai society
โลกยุคใหม่ รักกัน รักกัน
The new world era: love each other, love each other!

วงดนตรีนี้สัญลักษณ์เขาควาย
The symbol of this band is the buffalo horns
สื่อความหมายของผู้คนใช้แรงงาน
Conveying the meaning of the laborers
ร่วมสร้างร่วมสานสิ่งสร้างสรรค์ให้สังคมไทย
Together building and weaving creative things for Thai society
โลกยุคใหม่ รักกัน รักกัน
The new world era: love each other, love each other!

รักกัน รักกัน
Love each other! Love each other!
รักกัน รักกัน
Love each other! Love each other!
รักกัน รักกัน
Love each other! Love each other!
รักกัน รักกัน
Love each other! Love each other!
รักกัน รักกัน
Love each other! Love each other!

ดุจดังวิหคนกกามาร้องเพลง
Like a raven singing songs!
ขับกล่อมบรรเลงเป็นบทเพลงเป็นดนตรี
A soothing rhythm, creating songs, to be lyrics, to be music
ฅนคาราบาว 40 ปี ฅนคาราบาว 40 ปี
40 years of Carabao people, 40 years of Carabao [Buffalo] people
เพื่อชีวิตยืนยาวถึงวันนี้
For Life standing strong [actually “lasting long”]*** until today!
วันที่โลกลองดีต่อระบอบปกครอง
Today the world tries to resist the regime
เก่าไปใหม่มานะพี่น้อง
The old goes, and the new comes, huh, brothers and sisters?
พี่ไม่ต้องน้องทำเอง อยากได้ยินคำๆ นี้
Us older siblings don’t need you younger siblings to do it yourselves. [We] want [you] to listen to these words here.

วงดนตรีนี้สัญลักษณ์เขาควาย
The symbol of this band is the buffalo horns
สื่อความหมายของผู้คนใช้แรงงาน
Conveying the meaning of the laborers
ร่วมสร้างร่วมสานสิ่งสร้างสรรค์ให้สังคมไทย
Together building and weaving creative things for Thai society
โลกยุคใหม่ รักกัน รักกัน
The new world era: love each other, love each other!

วงดนตรีนี้สัญลักษณ์เขาควาย
The symbol of this band is the buffalo horns
สื่อความหมายของผู้คนใช้แรงงาน
Conveying the meaning of the laborers
ร่วมสร้างร่วมสานสิ่งสร้างสรรค์ให้สังคมไทย
Together building and weaving creative things for Thai society
โลกยุคใหม่ รักกัน รักกัน
The new world era: love each other, love each other!

รักกัน รักกัน
Love each other! Love each other!
รักกัน รักกัน
Love each other! Love each other!
รักกัน รักกัน
Love each other! Love each other!
รักกัน รักกัน
Love each other! Love each other!

40 ปี คาราบาวก้าวผ่านมา
For 40 years Carabao has been striding until now
ผ่านกาลเวลาและเรื่องราวมากมาย
Through the passage of time and so many stories
เดินทางมายาวนานประสบการณ์นำมาเขียนเพลง
Having traveled so long, [we] we take our experiences and write songs
ร่วมร้องบรรเลงบทเพลงจากใจ
Together singing and making music from the heart

40 ปี คาราบาวร้องบรรเลง
40 years of Carabao singing and making music
บทเพลงเพื่อชีวิตของผู้คนมากมาย
The Songs for Life of many, many people
ทั้งหญิงทั้งชายไม่ว่าเด็กหรือว่าคนแก่
Both female and male, whether child or old person
พ่อแม่พี่น้องโปรดรับการคารวะ
Fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters, please accept our respects!

*I usually translate this word “นกกา” as “crow,” so the word “crows” appear in many, many Carabao or my Carabao song translations. But “นกกา” can also mean “raven,” a closely related bird. Crows have a negative connotation in English, while ravens have a positive connotation in English, so I switched to the word “raven” for this translation even though I could have said “crow.” The crow is used symbolically in Carabao songs, usually reminding us to work diligently. I can see online that both crows and ravens can mimic human songs and words like parrots. I am guessing the reference to the crow/raven here is more about the positive aspects of these birds.
**Subtext: The more things change, the more they stay the same. The young people are fighting the regime just like current members of the band did when they were young.
***Actually “standing long” or “being long-lasting” is more exact, but “standing strong” is the clearest way to say it in English.

ดอกไม้กับผีเสื้อ Dok Mai Gap Pee Sua (Flowers and Butterflies)

Lyrics/Composer: ยืนยง โอภากุล Yuenyong Opakul (aka Add Carabao)
Arranger and lead vocal: ปรีชา ชนะภัย Preecha Chanapai (aka Lek Carabao)

Album: 40 ปี ฅนคาราบาว See Sip Bpee Kon Carabao (40 Years of Carabao People) [Ye Olde Carabao Band: 40 Years]

Carabao in English celebrates 9 years of jumping the language barrier in an effort to open up the songs of Carabao—the Beatles (Michael Jackson? Taylor Swift?) of Thailand!—to the English-speaking world. This song is the 300th “Carabao song” translation posted at Carabao in English. (This is in addition to another 45 songs by artists closely related to Add Carabao)

Note: In this song, the butterfly is a metaphor for men. The flowers are a metaphor for women, according to an expert translator.

ใช่ว่าดอกไม้ทุกดอกดูสวยดีจะต้องหอม
It’s not that every beautiful flower will smell good
เกสรที่เฝ้าเด็ดดอมจะรสดีด้วยความหวาน
Or that the pollen you wish to smell will be sweet.
เมื่อคุณผ่านชีวิตมาอย่างโชกโชน
When you go through life and are seasoned
คุณจะเรียนรู้โลกนี้ไม่มีแน่นอน
You will learn that nothing in this world is certain

*แม้คนที่คุณรัก รักเขาและเขารักคุณ
Even [when] the person you love, you love them and they love you.
เมื่อวันผ่านเลยความรักนั้นอาจโบยบิน
As the days go by, that love may fly off
ยังมีดอกไม้กับผีเสื้อไม่รู้จบสิ้น
Yet there is no end to flowers and butterflies
ยังมีดอกไม้กับผีเสื้อไม่รู้จบสิ้น
Yet there is no end to flowers and butterflies

บทเรียนจากหนามกุหลาบ ตำครั้งเดียวก็เกินพอ
The lesson of rose thorns: [to be] stabbed just once is more than enough
ความรักที่เฝ้าถักทอ กลับลงเอยด้วยผิดหวัง
The love that you look after and weave, goes down with disappointment
ทำเราเจ็บทางใจอย่างทรมาน
It makes one’s heart hurt, tortuously
กว่าจะหลุดพ้นก็จวนเจียนจะขาดใจ
Before letting it go, you almost die.

เพราะคนที่คุณรัก รักเขาและเขารักคุณ
Because the person you love, you love them and they love you
เมื่อวันผ่านเลย ความรักนั้นอาจโบยบิน
As the days go by, that love may fly away
ยังมีดอกไม้กับผีเสื้อไม่รู้จบสิ้น
Yet there is no end to flowers and butterflies

**บินไป บินไป ดอกไม้ไม่มีวันหมด
Fly away! Fly away! We will never run out of flowers
มีอนาคตรอคนที่แกร่งข้างใน
There is a future waiting for the person who is strong inside
ชีวิตบนโลกฉาบฉวยกันด้วยร่างกาย
In our life, we look at each other on the outside
ถามหาจิตใจใครบ้างที่กล้าที่แกร่ง
Keep asking for someone whose heart/mind is brave and strong [who is beautiful on the inside]

Repeat: (*, **)

ชีวิตบนโลกฉาบฉวยกันด้วยร่างกาย
In our life, we look at each other on the outside
ถามหาจิตใจใครบ้างที่กล้าที่แกร่ง
Keep asking for someone whose heart/mind is brave and strong
ยังมีดอกไม้ แด่ผีเสื้อผู้กล้าท้าลมแรง
There are still flowers. It’s up to the butterflies, the people who brave the strong winds.

Add Carabao’s birthday songs to himself (reflections about his life and getting older):

Just like the set of songs written to commemorate Multiple-of-5 Anniversaries of the band Carabao, in recent decades, Add Carabao (Yuenyong Opakul) has written songs to commemorate his own birthdays. Above is the most recent song “66′ เพื่อเธอ (69, For You), as first posted to Meta from the Add Bao Facebook page.  These birthday songs look both backwards (assessing the time already spent) and forwards. They often address mortality head on, which is the Buddhist way. Add Carabao’s real first name is Yuenyong, which means “endurance,” which is important for two songs that build on the truth that Yuenyong doesn’t yuenyong (Endurance doesn’t endure/He himself, Yuenyong, won’t endure). In the list, I have included some autobiographical songs that reflect on life lived so far and/or aging/approaching mortality even if I have no proof they were written for a particular birthday.

ยืนยง Yuenyong (Age 35)*
ไม่ยืนยง Mai Yuenyong (Not Endure [Forever]) (age 50)  ✰✰✰
ระฆังชีวิต Rakang Cheewit (The Life Bell) (age 60)
อย่าเพิ่งตาย Yaa Peung Dtai (Don’t Die Just Now) (age 61)  ✰✰✰
เพลงของกู เวอร์ชั่น 3 Playng Kong Gu Version 3 (My Song, Version 3) (age 63, and written near the birthday)  ✰✰✰
My Song (age 65) ✰✰✰ **
ยอดมนุษย์ 2% Yot Manut Song Percen (The Top 2 Percent of Humanity) (age 68) ✰✰
69′ เพื่อเธอ 69 Puea Ter (69, For You) (age 69, obviously) for the official YouTube, ✰✰ for the live version at the top of the page.

*This song doesn’t grab me, because of its repetitive melody, but the music video is MUST see. In it, Add Carabao is in the prime of his life and has never looked more the rock star that he, of course, always is. If you mostly know Add Carabao as an older man, check this out.
** Written in English, with Teewa Sarachuta sharing writing credits.

NOTE: My star system, is being revised, so this rating (my most recent assessment) may or may not match the rating in the index. (Three stars used to mean “Top 100” but as time goes on there are more than 100 three-star songs.)

69′ เพื่อเธอ 69 Peua Ter (69, For You)

From the album “ไอ้ตูดหมึก” Ai Duk Muek (Squid Butt?), the the third bootleg solo album of Add Carabao.

Translation of Add Carabao’s introduction to the song, with Thai original below: “I decided to write the song ’69, For You’ to celebrate my birthday last year 69 years ago on November 9, at 10.09 am, the time I hold that I was born into this world. My older twin was born 9 minutes before. My best wishes to him also. I determined to write the song and am determined to change myself as in the song. The age 70-80, the doctor says, is a important time. If you don’t take care of yourself well you are likely to wither and fall [like a leaf off a tree]. My best wishes to each of you. May you have perfect health, have enough to eat and the things you need, someone to love, and longevity, your “kwan” standing with Dharma, brothers and sisters. — Add Carabao, 11/9/2023”

ผมตั้งใจเเต่งเพลงนี้ “69 เพื่อเธอ” เพื่อฉลองวันเกิดของผมเมื่อ 69 ปีที่แล้ว ในวันที่ 9 พฤศจิกายน 10.09 น. ผมถือกำเนิดมาบนโลกใบนี้ แฝดผู้พี่ผมเกิดก่อน 9 นาที ขออวยพรให้ด้วยเช่นกัน ตั้งใจเเต่งและตั้งใจเปลี่ยนเเปลงตนเองดังเพลงว่าไว้นั่นเเหละครับ วัย 70-80 หมอบอกเป็นช่วงเวลาที่สำคัญถ้าไม่ดูแลตนเองดีๆคนมักจะร่วงก็ช่วงนี้แหละครับ ขออำนวยอวยพรให้ทุกท่านจงมีสุขภาพพลานามัยสมบูรณ์ มีกินมีใช้มีคนรักใคร่และอายุมั่นขวัญยืนด้วยธรรมครับพี่น้อง.

“แอ๊ด คาราบาว”

9.11.2023

พอย่าง 69 เรื่องราวบางเรื่องก็หลงลืม
When one gets to 69 some matters are forgotten/lost
ความที่เป็นนักดื่ม เซลล์สมองคงทนเราไม่ไหว
My brain cells probably can’t take me being a drinker
ฝ่าฟันกันมา มีเวลาเท่าไหร่ก็ใช้ไป
Let’s forge ahead. However much time is left, [I’ll] use it.
ไม่เคยคิดสิ่งใด ที่สุดวิสัย แค่อยู่ไปวันๆ
I never think of things beyond my abilities [set a goal out of my reach]. I just lived day to day.
มันก็มีทั้งสุข เคล้าคลุก ทุกข์ทนปนเป
It had both happiness mixed together with suffering
เจอทั้งคนเจ้าเล่ห์ คนดีๆ เคมีเราพ้องกัน
I met with both deceitful people and very good people who I had chemistry with.
ผ่านป่า ภูเขา แม่น้ำ ทะเล สังคมกดดั
Passing through forests, mountains, rivers, oceans, social pressures
แต่ใจฉันยังมุ่งมั่น ณ ที่แห่งนั้น
But my heart is still determined in those moments
ที่อาจเอื้อมได้ถึง
That [the thing I aim for] is reachable.

*คนที่แข็งที่แกร่งที่สุด เปรียบดังนักกีฬาที่หนึ่ง
People who are strong are like the top athlete.
เพียงลำพังตนเองเป็นที่พึ่ง มุ่งสู่เส้นชัย
[They] just rely on themselves* [to] push on towards the finish line.
ล้มแล้วลุกขึ้นยืนตั้งต้น เป็นที่พึ่งแห่งตนก้าวใหม่
Pick themselves up and stand upright; one’s next steps depend on it.
69 นั้นมีความหมาย… หยุดเหลวไหลสักที
69 has meaning . . . stop the nonsensical times.

(ซ้ำ *)

69 นั้นมีความหมาย… ก้าวต่อไปเพื่อเธอ
69 has meaning … [I] walk on for you.

*From the saying ตนเป็นที่พึ่งแห่งตน, a common Buddha teaching, literally “you are the one to be relied on for your own assistance.”

Check out a set of 8 Add Carabao “birthday songs.”

Three Add Carabao songs based on the Hindu legend of Arjuna consider issues of War and Peace

Interestingly, Add Carabao, despite being Buddhist like most Thais, has written three songs (that I know of) about the mythical archer Arjuna from the Hindu text the Bhagavad Gita. I have filed translations of all three songs at this website under my “War/Peace/Terrorism” category in “Lyrics by Theme.” Seventeen of the 300 Carabao and Add Carabao songs I have translated fall into this category. If we add to that the 3 songs about “Ancient Kings and Legendary Battles,” we have 20 of 300 Carabao and Add Carabao songs (6.6 percent) offering various perspectives on War, Peace, and Terrorism. The three Arjuna songs shed light on this whole category of Add Carabao’s work.

The three Arjuna songs are:

ภควัทคีตา Pukawatketa (Bhagavad Gita) (1990) (On the Add Carabao solo album No Problem, also included on the Add Carabao 2019 compilation album Poem)

ศรอรชุน Son Arachun (The Arrow(s) of Arjuna) (1991) (On the Add Carabao solo album World Folk Zen)

น้ำตาอรชุน Nam Dtaa Arachun (The Tears of Arjuna) (2022) (From the 40th Anniversary Album)

The Bhagavad Gita (which can be translated “Song of God”) is a key Hindu religious text. From what I have gathered from Wikipedia and a skimming of the Bhagavad Gita, Hinduism shares a lot in common with Buddhism except that Hinduism, and emphatically NOT Buddhism, includes the idea of a soul or substantial self and a Supreme Being creator god in whom one must have faith.

The set-up of The Bhagavad Gita story is a very particular and grounded dilemma that is supposed to represent the Human Dilemma (and does a great job of representing that dilemma). The great archer Arjuna comes to the battlefield to fight (in a just war whose background is not described in The Bhagavad Gita but can be found in introductions to the text.) Surveying the battlefield, Arjuna becomes distressed and starts to cry, and at first refuses to fight when he sees that the people on the two sides, who will be soon be killed in the battle, are friends and close relatives of each other. They are the armies of two brothers. Krishna, who is an avatar of the god Vishnu, then sings the verses that contain the Hindu wisdom that explain to Arjuna how and why he should do his duty nevertheless. In the story, Arjuna is convinced to fight. But the “wisdom” in the verses Krishna sings is meant to apply more generally to all of life.

The three songs written by Add Carabao seem to span all sides of the question of whether Arjuna should fight. The first, “Bhagavad Gita,” focuses on Krishna’s arguments, drawn from The Bhagavad Gita, and Arjuna’s inner turmoil. Arjuna is not yet convinced by the arguments. Meanwhile, the driving beat of the song leaves the impression that one probably should “fight” (for or against something not spelled out in the song itself). The fact that the song is featured on the compilation album “Poem” might be an indication that Add considers it especially poetic–which it is in the sense that it vividly captures Arjuna’s dilemma.

“The Arrow(s) of Arjuna,” which came out a year later on the album World Folk Zen, is by far my favorite of the three Arjuna songs. The message of the song is unequivocally “Go fight injustice!!!” This message can be clearly understood without knowing anything about the story of Arjuna, and almost from the music alone. The song is addictive and, as I have said elsewhere, will inspire you go fight injustice, or at the very least, get up and clean the house! (lol). With regard to Arjuna’s actual dilemma, though, the song hedges a bit by specifying that “We fight with our hearts/minds, not with a sword.” That is, the story of Arjuna is treated as a compelling myth from which we can selectively draw some inspiration. The question of whether people today, you and me, should go to actual war to fight injustice is sidestepped. It is odd that this excellent song is hard, but not impossible, to find online. Is it problematic or controversial in some way of which I am unaware?

Finally, we have the song “The Tears of Arjuna,” which is the most pacifist of the three songs. It explicitly says, “Who is right and who is wrong has no meaning at all . . . in war.” The lyrics and tone of the song present Krishna/Vishnu (who is supposed to be divine) as driving Arjuna, against his better judgement, into a bad decision. But before progressives automatically cheer the antiwar opinion in the song, note the last line: “October 14.” It seems this cautionary message is meant to apply as well to the popular uprising of October 14, 1973, where students managed to drive out the dictators leading to 3 years of democracy at the cost of at least 77 official deaths and many more injuries when the government tried unsuccessfully to suppress the uprising.

Going back to the first verse of the song, it does seem Add Carabao is addressing his “be careful” message firstly to the protesters:

สงครามที่ฉันเคยพบพานในอดีต
The wars that I experienced in the past
มีพลพรรคคอมมิวนิสต์เป็นมิตรสหาย
There are communist partisans who are friends/comrades
เยาวชนหนุ่มสาวลุกขึ้นทวงสิทธิ์
Young people rise up to demand their rights
ใครถูกใครผิดมันไม่มีความหมายใดๆ
Who is right and who is wrong has no meaning at all
ในสงคราม… สงคราม
In war . . . war. In war . . . war.

At some point, I will put together my own analysis of Add’s changing political positions over the years, but to me they are not that surprising given that was once an active communist sympathizer, and has had many formative experiences since. He has devoted songs and even albums to some of the wars, conflicts, and massacres happening in the Southeast Asian region. I believe that some portion of Add Carabao’s relative conservatism in later years derives from a sincere fear of a civil war breaking out in Thailand, as explicitly stated in some of the songs.*

Many of Add Carabao’s songs about war and peace, even though they are grounded in a particular conflict in Thailand or Southeast Asia–and even if you dislike the advice in that particular context!–can be plucked from that context and applied to a conflict across the globe because of their universal elements.* Which is analogous to Add Carabao’s using The Bhagavad Gita to consider the dilemmas around him in Thailand.

*For instance, เพื่อประเทศไทย (Peua Prathet Thai) For Thailand with Sek Loso, Khan Thaitanium and other artists.
** (I am thinking of อยากได้ยิน Yaak Daiyin (Want to Hear), which might as well be addressed to Democrats and Republicans in the United States, and วางดาบ Wang Dap (Set Down the Sword), about being prepared to strategically back down from a fight.)

คอนเสิร์ตเลิกไว Concert Lerk Wai (The Concert Ends Early)

Composed, arranged, and produced by แอ๊ด คาราบาว Add Carabao
Album: วันวานไม่มีเขาฯ Wan Waan Mai Me Kow … (If It Weren’t for Her …) (2012)

Note: The title means “The concert breaks up quickly” with the sense that “The concert ends early”

เริ่มที่รักกัน แล้วมาคุยกันจะได้ไหม
As a start to loving each other, can [you] come talk with each other?
ไม่มีเหลืองแดง ไม่มีขาวน้ำเงิน แบ่งสีแบ่งสัน
There’s no Yellow-Red, no White [or] Blue.* Share out the colors
มีแต่คนไทย ที่ควรห่วงใย ใช่ใครอื่นไกล ไทยทั้งนั้น
It’s just [us] Thai people who need to care [for each other]. Not anyone else far away. All of [us] Thais
เหนือจรดใต้ ออกตกอีสาน
From the North to the South, East [to] West, Isaan
ล้วนเหล่าลูกหลานเผ่าไทย
All are children of the Thai tribe.
ล้านวันพันปีที่เราผูกโยง เกลียวสายใย
Millions of days, a thousand years that we are tied together by interwoven threads [like a cable]
ไม่ว่ามาจากไหน ไป่เยว์หนานเจา เทือกเขาอัลไต
No matter where we come from — Bai-Yue [an ancient tribe living in south and southeast China], Nan Xiao [an ancient Kingdom in China’s current Yunnan Province], the Altai Mountains [of Mongolia]**–
มีแต่คนไทย ที่ควรห่วงใย ใช่ใครอื่นไกล ไทยทั้งนั้น
It’s just [us] Thai people who need to care [for each other]. Not anyone else far away. All of [us] Thai.
เหนือจรดใต้ออกตกอีสาน
From the North to the South, East [to] West, Isaan
ล้วนเป็นลูกหลานเผ่าไทย
All are children of the Thai tribe.

* ประเทศไทย รวมเลือดเนื้อชาติเชื้อไทย
Thailand. Gathering together the flesh and blood of the Thai nationality.
ประเทศไทย รวมเลือดเนื้อชาติเชื้อไทย
Thailand. Gathering together the flesh and blood of the Thai nationality.

** ถ้าเริ่มที่เรารักกัน สวรรค์ก็ไม่ไกล
If [we] begin to love each other, Heaven isn’t far off.
ถ้าเริ่มที่ทะเลาะกัน นรกก็ไม่ไกล
If [we] begin to quarrel with each other, Hell isn’t far off.

*** ถ้าเริ่มที่เรารักกันสวรรค์ก็ไม่ไกล
If [we] begin to love each other, Heaven isn’t far off.
ถ้าตั้งหน้าทะเลาะกัน คอนเสริ์ตก็เลิกไว
If [we] insist on squabbling, the concert will be over quickly [the concert will end early]***
มีแต่คนไทย ที่ควรห่วงใย ใช่คนอื่นไกล ไทยทั้งนั้น
It’s just [us] Thai people who need to care [for each other]. Not anyone else far away. All of us Thai.
เหนือจรดต้ออกตกอีสาน
From the North to the South, East [to] West, Isaan
ล้วนเป็นลูกหลานเผ่าไทย
All are children of the Thai tribe.
เหนือจรดใต้ออกตกอีสาน ล้วนเป็นลูกหลานเผ่าไทย
From the North to the South, East [to] West, Isaan, all are children of the Thai tribe.
( * / ** / *** )

*The colors worn by opposing political groups at the time.
**He is referring to the Tai ethnolinguistic group and their possible origins thousands of years ago outside of Thailand or Laos. It seems the first possibility listed is most widely accepted while the third has been totally discredited.
***Carabao concerts have had a persistent problem of brawls breaking out between gangs from rival schools, especially during the song Bua Loy. I’m sure this line has something to do with that.

Add announces Carabao will disband with a last concert April 1, 2024

This video has an excerpt from the whole statement. It turns out I can’t share the video that was recorded live and sent straight to Facebook.

At the Bom Sincharoen Fan meetup No. 4, October 11, 2023, after playing เวร Wayn (Fate/Misfortune) and then ฝ่าลมฝน Faa Lom Fon (Braving Wind and Rain), Add Carabao (Yeunyong Opakul) dropped a bombshell. (You can hear someone in the audience exclaim, “ไม่น่าเชื่อ” or “unbelievable”). In the lead-up to the announcement (which does not seem preplanned), Add is talking about the marketing of the early albums and what kind of deals they had over time and then he says he won’t be a slave of anyone. Then he says that he kept the band going for the sake of the band members so they would have work but . . . [Approximate translation:]

“ . . . when you get a band of old people, let it go. Because right now all of us are really old. Also four people in the band have illnesses. And we will break up next year after a last concert on April 1, 2024. And we will just quit. I’m telling you, brothers and sisters, this is the truth! It’s that we just can’t do it anymore. Every last one of us is old now. [It’s like] three days, good, 4 days sick. These days, there two people sitting with me playing and another two people lying in beds in the hospital. And they just recover and come back to play. Which means, OK, it’s gotten to the time that we must let it go and accept the truth that we are old. But we are still cool!

Whoever wants to go play with someone, whoever wants to go do something, they should do what makes them happy.

I’m not taking the younger brothers, the kids, in the band along further. Incidentally, meet my nephews right there, these ones, who just turned 18. I’m asking them to come help me. They are also guitarists and can do many things. They make it so my heart is still happy living with songs/music. My life . . . I’m not a musician, I’m not a guitar player, rather my life is to be a songwriter. And it makes me happy to walk in here playing songs. One day I compose a song and can record it, and then see the song go out to society, and I sleep with pleasant dreams. I’m happy. It’s not a matter of money . . .” [Then he talks about the charities that he supports]

This was a very small intimate gathering, with like 80 people watching live on Facebook (I watched live but after the announcement), and if the video becomes available as a YouTube, I will post, because the music was AWESOME!!!

Translated 40th Anniversary interview with Lek, Add, and Thierry

Carabao: 40 years of Legendary Songs for Life
Interview by The People Co. Premiered Sep 18, 2023

ANNOUNCEMENT: REPORTERS LOOKING FOR ENGLISH-LANGUAGE FAN COMMENTARY ON CARABAO AFTER THE ANNOUNCED BREAK-UP OF THE BAND CAN CONTACT ME AT THE EMAIL ADDRESS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE WEBSITE.

The translated intro from The People Co., begins, “The People” interviews the core members of the band, including Add – Yeunyong Opakul, Lek – Preecha Chanapai, and Thierry Mekwattana, who are members who created legendary ‘Songs for Life’ ever since the album Made in Thailand, which is packed with timeless songs.”

I’ve translated the interview in full. The video begins with highlights from the full interview. These comments are out of context, and will come up again in context, so I didn’t translate them. So my transcript begins at minute 1:32. I’ve added some of my own headings in green, in addition to translations of the text headings provided in the video.

DISCLAIMER: This translation has not been checked by a second translator. Consider it an aid to further research. That is before you depend on it, check the translation yourself.

[The words on the black screen: “40 years Carabao. From the start of the fight/struggle until today they are a legend.” Bua Loy plays in background]
Add’s early musical influences
Add: My life of music began from home because my father was a musician and the leader of a provincial band: Ch. S. P. Band, or Band of the People of Suphan. I came up seeing only musical instruments filling the whole house. So I came into Bangkok and sang folk songs. I graduated from Uthen [Uthenthawai Vocational School] here, then went on to further studies in the Philippines. I intended to study and graduate as an architect, but as soon as I got to the Phillipines, I encountered a song that had just come out in 1976. It was the song Freddie Aguilar’s song “Anak.” I liked this song a lot, and it was the inspiration for the first song I wrote, the song “Lung Kee Mao” (“Drunken Uncle”). As soon as I heard this song, I thought, I need to be a songwriter. I wanted to be a songwriter. That was the minute that changed my life. When I got back to Thailand, I worked in the Housing Department. But still continued to play music. I didn’t give it up. At that time, I lived with Kai [Sanit Simsala]. At that house, Kai had a turntable, but there was no speaker. We only had headphones. I got Led Zeppelin. I had the Eagles. I had Rod Stewart, I had many, many people. It was something that added to my spirit in the way of music so my knowledge greatly increased. I was born into the local culture, but as soon as went and got the Western influence, there was a blending.

[The heading says: “Num Suphan” (“Young Man from Suphan”)* Album “Kee Mao”(“The Drunkard’)]
Add meets Lek and Theirry
Add: I met Lek [Preecha Chanapai] in school when I was at Utaen. I saw him exchanging punches with a friend of mine. [They all laugh at Lek] Oh! I was watching [thinking], “This guy can’t fight at all.” [Everyone laughs] And that guy was bigger than him too.
Lek: I can’t remember anymore
Someone off camera: How did it end, Pi Lek?
Add: But P’Lek was totally the musician of the school, and when there was a school event, P’Lek would get up and play. Back then I was like, “Whoa! This playing is beyond the ordinary!” Back then, Lek played bass. Did you play with Mook? Mook played guitar and violin. Lek played bass back then. Whao! So cool! A friend of ours.
Theirry: At that time, I also played folk songs with P’Lek, you know! Three of us.
Lek: Nana
Theirry: And P’Add came to Nana school. When I first knew P’Add, I’d only say “Hello” [and wai]. He would come sit and watch, we were like whatever, and didn’t chat, and only said “Hello, Brother” [and wai.] P’Add invited us to be in a band with him. I told him I couldn’t do it because now I was going to a foreign country.**

Add gets fired from his gig for for playing a Thai song (Lung Kee Mao) at the urging of Lek/ Lek joins Add’s band.
Add: I didn’t have a band. It was me trying to find a band. I didn’t have a band. When I made the first album “Lung Kee Mao,” it was like P’Lek has said, [like] a solo album. But I used the band Hope, a band of P’Suthep as backup. In those days, I played at Dicken’s Pub. I played with Suthep of Hope. And P’Lek came in with … was it … or not. Three of them.
Lek: At that time, I was drunk.
Add: Drunk. At that time, he had just stopped. And he asked for the song “Lung Kee Mao” (“Drunken Uncle.”) I told him, “Oh, they don’t let us sing Thai songs,” [and he was like] “No, I’ll listen. I’ll listen. Just play!”
[“Lung Kee Mao” plays]
Add: As soon as I played, the manager comes out and says, “You! Get out! I already told you not to play Thai songs, and what song are you playing? This is a restaurant selling alcohol. And what are you singing? A song where a drunkard drinks, lies down, and dies!” So I lost my job as of that day. And P’Suthep kicked me out of the band as well. So I told Keo [Kirati Promsaka Na Sakolnakorn]. And Keo had to decide, would he go with P’Suthep or would he come with me? Keo said he would come with me. So Lek said, “I caused you to lose your job, I’ll come with you. I’d better come help you out.” And so we came and made Bpae Kaai Kuat (The Bottle Collector) together. It was recorded at Flat … 2, of Lek’s. We sat and made it together.

[The song “Bpae Kaai Kuat” plays] Heading says “Formation, ‘Bpae Kaai Kuat’(The Bottle Collector]-‘Wanipok’(The Busker)”]
Add works at the Housing Department while building a musical career
Add: At that time, I worked in the Housing Department. I was lucky that I had a boss that was P’Ganak Buddhinan, who was the older brother of P’Der- Rewat Buddhinan [a founder of Grammy Entertainment], and it so happened that a relative of P’Der was married to my older sister. And so we were all related. We were “pickeled” together. And so it was comfortable. Back then I still didn’t know we were going to be successful in — whether we could make a living from it or not. So first we had to hold onto [our] careers, even though the monthly salary wasn’t that high. I started at 3,030 [baht] ($84) [per month]. But to pay for one room, it was OK, because that room Flat 17, was the product of my work — “Wanipok” and all the various other [songs] — those products. I did it for 5 years, and then I did, “Made in Thailand” and experienced success. I didn’t have any time to come sit and work [at the office]. At that point, I needed to work with music.

[“Wanipok” plays. Heading says “WanipoK, the album Wanipok”]
Add: Honestly, the songs on the album Wanipok are what allowed us to announce our birth before Made In Thailand [came along] as well. But Made in Thailand was then our peak period. P’Der said it was 5 million cassettes tapes. Because we didn’t … we had Grammy be the ones to sell it. It was the best-selling album. But we already had money in the millions [of baht] [tens of thousands of dollars] after Wanipok. When I first invited Lek and Keo to come [join me], I told them, in 3 years, we are going to have money in the millions. But it was in just one year, one year only, that we had money in the millions.

[Made in Thailand plays. Header says, “’Made in Thailand,’ An Immortal Album”]
Made in Thailand, “Nang Ngam Dtu Grajok” (“Glass Cabinet Beauty Queen”), and the issue of prostitution in Thailand
Add: Whoa! It came from each individual band member, whether it was rock, as with the songs Luuk Gaew, Luuk Hin, and whatever like these. It came from Thierry with regards to cords and whatever. If you name it like Americans [would], you could say it’s style is “Americana.” Or call it whatever you want. There was country, blues, folk; it had all sorts of things mixed together. But our style was “Americana, Thai-style.”
Add: I determined that P’Lek would sing songs about children and their families. Thierry would do love songs. I would sing songs about society. I assigned it like this.
Person off camera: There was only one song that P’Thierry sang on the album “Made in Thailand,” and that was the song “Nang Ngam Dtu Grajok.” [“Glass Cabinet Beauty Queen”]. Why was it Thierry who sang it?
Thierry: Yeah, exactly. [Meaning, “good question!”]
Add: It was appropriate that he do it [laughs].
Thierry: There are two people together. Two people. When he [wrote] “Glass Cabinet Beauty Queen” I thought that, wow, [the line] “Ten, a hundred, a thousand until the prime minister” [using the services of a prostitute] would get this song banned for sure. But it didn’t happen. They went and banned หำเทียม “Ham Tiam” (Dildo)! So I thought, that was lucky!***

At minute 8:50: [Visual excerpt from music video for “Glass Cabinet Beauty Queen”]
Add: Thailand is a country of lies. There are so many people gambling, but it seems there are no casinos. And Thailand is a country famous for having lots and lots of brothels, but there has never been a single person in Thai government who wants to say “let’s make them legal.” Until Move Forward wants to make them legal. I agree 100 percent. Make it so they are legal, no matter whether they are casinos or brothels. Make them legal and keep the taxes for the state. They’re all adults now!

Can Add repeat the magic of Made in Thailand?
Add: I think that I am [like] one bottle of liquor. One brand new bottle of liquor. You open it up and have abilities equal to the kick of the liquor in the bottle. But as you use it up, you won’t have it. The albums to come therefore won’t have it. There won’t be any further albums that will gleam like Made in Thailand because now I’m like this good bottle of liquor here that we’ve opened and drunk together. And after that, there’s no more. Because I’ve used all my strength in wanting to do this album, all of it has gone into it. After that, there’s no more. Because the source that I have in myself, it’s like the liquor that’s in that bottle. Now the liquor in that bottle had been totally used up. Unless we go find a new bottle.

[Header says: Times change after Made in Thailand]
Temporary Breakup of the Band’s Big Three and Reunion
Add: I can’t really remember, but I know that that day, we all wanted to do something following our own hearts. So Lek went his own way. Ree [Thierry] also went his own way. I went my own way. We each went to do our own thing. And in the end we knew that, if we join together, we are great. If we separate, it guarantees we are finished.
Lek: I’ll tell you this: The incidents back then, makes it so we have today. I’m thinking right. I believe I’m thinking correctly. P’Add thinks correctly that every person left because of every person. Me and P’Add here stand together with regard to work. We always argue about work; we have never argued about money. Because being in our youth, we were hot-blooded. How can we know who was right and who was wrong? Can [anyone] figure it out? Our work, I believe is ours. That’s the best way to think about it. As soon as we’ve matured, our egos are so big, both of us, all of us, that we go off and so some special solo work. Not long after we were on our own, we came back together and have worked together ever since. And it’s been smooth ever since. And we never argue anymore about work … We don’t have this in the band Carabao….

[Three of them playing Mai Pai]
Origin of the term “Songs for Life”; Add’s involvement with communism
Add: The words, “song for life” arose and are particular to Thailand. Because before that, there was the band Caravan. And there was a writer, and one of his books was called “Artists for Life, for the People,” and that writer was Jit Phumisak. Because of that, once the band Caravan came about, one writer wrote [the words] “songs for life.” But that came from this book here: “Artists for Life, for the People.” And so it gave birth to the words “songs for life.” I went and searched this world. Is there “song for life” or “protest song”? No, there’s nothing. There is no person who named them that.

Add’s relation to the October 14 (1973) and October 6 (1976) events and communism
Add: Maybe I wasn’t an October person; maybe I wasn’t a real October person, but I worked for the communists for 6 years without these guys knowing it [points to Lek and Thierry].****
Lek: Me, I was a professional musician. Like a true musician. When I came to know P’Add, it was like I knew a communist. Also, it was P’Add, who introduced us to the band Caravan, to know things like this. You have to understand that in the life of a professional musician like me, you have to drink soda pop. But the communists in past times, they didn’t even drink soda pop. Think about it. And it surprised me. Because just a moment before [Add told me that], I’d drunk some.
Add: And you also couldn’t wear high heals.
Lek: And I’d just drunk some and I was like, “Whaaa ???” And he said, “So this guy drinks soda pop!?” [Lek clutches his throat.]  And I’d just drunk some. Something like this. So I guess it’s going to be like this? Back then, P’Add’s life was intense. He led us to meet the communists. I was confused like, “Whao! What’s this?
Add: [We] couldn’t even look at women.
Lek: Uh . . Look! He told me “Lek, as soon as you grow up to be an adult why do you only look at woman in this way?” [I?] said, “’How come the adults look?’ Why do children look at girls?
Theirry: Would you have us look at men?
Lek: The way that P’Thierry looks at men is OK.
Add: I was kind of strict with the band, with the band members in that era. In the era of Made in Thailand, I’d check names. At 10 o’clock, no one has arrived. There is a board to check names.

Are the Songs for Life supposed to fight injustice?
Person off camera: P’Add, you have written in a book/magazine that Song for Life are things that fight injustice. Do you still look at the songs for life from this perspective?
Add: As for myself, throughout my life, I’ve written songs like that. For my whole life. I’m unable to write any other type of song. Actually there are some songs that are only about love, which I’ve written for Thierry to sing.
Lek: It’s that I look at the world like, in reality, us humans, you must admit you have a dream. Every person needs to eat and live happily and comfortably. About this, humans must … we must not first lie to ourselves. I hear people talk so much about ideals/ideology, but I ask you honestly, if you can’t provide for yourself, how are you going to help anyone in society? You will let your kids and wife have nothing to eat and you will help society? I don’t believe it. As for that, we must save ourselves first. We have to clean our own houses first. Then we can extend the cleanliness to the surrounding next to the house. If we have something to eat, if we have strength, we are able to make it so the world is nice to live in, to the extent that we have energy. I don’t believe that one person alone can change anything very much.

Where Add gets his ideas for songs
Thierry: Have happiness. And I got an idea also. P’Lek has your own melody. P’Add has a melody. I have a melody of my own. That’s like how I say, “Three buffalos.” P’Add has tons of stories in his head, which wherever he goes, he brings a notebook to jot them down. [pantomimes his writing in a notebook] Something like that. Bring anything to him, instantly it just comes. In a minute, it comes. The lyrics have already come [to him].
Lek: He reads so much, P’Add does.

[Heading says: Arriving at 40 years of Carabao]
Promoting the 40 Years, 40 Songs concert
Add: 40 years, 40 songs played till sick [of them] for you [honored you]. The words “played till sick of them,” mean that all of us have played together until we are bored. We play those songs until we are sick of them in order that we can play them for you [honored you]. Not that we play them so that YOU are sick of them. Those are two different things [laughs]. Decode that correctly. [We]’ll hear the songs that are familiar; doing it this way is better. But if we play the songs that aren’t familiar, like in previous eras, when we arranged a concert, other people are going to be like “you need to play that song and this song.” And they’re not familiar and we will be able to endure playing. Some of the playing will be wrong and some right. Because it’s not familiar. But for this time, 40 songs will all be familiar.
Lek: This will be special, which we have never done. We’ve never done it.
Add: We’ve never done it. For the most part, there are people who come force us: do it like this! Do it like that! But this time we do it in a friendly informal way.
Thierry: This time must be more special than all the other times because we will play following our hearts [or as we like]. Yes, let’s use these words.
Add: P’Thierry has [something] special. He will have คลื่น waves/rhythm. [Add and Thierry start making wave motions together]
Thierry: Right now I have many postures. I’m a dancer.
Add: Marine department [I think it’s a pun].
Lek: Entertain.
Thierry: I’m a clown for anything like this. I want everyone to be happy.
Thierry: I got to this age, where if I want to do something, I do it.
Add: You’re close to death at this point.
Thierry: Close.

[Header: Remembered Concerts]
Fighting at Carabao concerts
Add: That, it seems like it was a set up. It’s a Pluak Daeng garbage disposal pit, and it appears there are people saying, I oppose the creation of the garbage disposal pit at Pluak Daeng, which I didn’t know anything about. On that day, I remember that many Thairath reporters got up all over on stage. On on that day my pictures was on page 1 [of the newspaper]. [I] jumped down and kicked [them]. Do you know why? After the first song that they got up on stage, I’m playing, they come, [he mouths a word that they whispered at him]. And they are sitting along the fence. [He mouths the word again.] It was a set-up! They set me up! Because the movement of the reporters was really strange. As soon as the third BLEEPED EXPLITIVE, I jumped off the stage and kicked him in the neck.

Add: There was one time someone threw a bottle onto the stage. He threw it towards the stage but didn’t quite make it. It hit against the stage. Bang! It smashed. Bang! This was at Surat Thani. I jumped down. Expletive, this expletive guy was huge. But, anyhow, I had already jumped down and put [it] on first.
Lek: Being on the stage [you] miscalculated, huh?
Add: As soon as I jumped down, woah! Expletive huge. So big.
Person off camera: P’Add, do you ever think about why the song Bua Loy would have fights [between gangs breaking out during it]? Why Bua Loy [particularly]?
Add: With the beat of Bua Loy, it’s very มัน (pleasing/enjoyable). The beat of Bua Loy is มัน. While [in] the lyrics of Bua Loy, he’s a fighter. So I don’t know. Maybe they will punch and hit each other, I guess. I really don’t know. You have to go ask them.

__________________________________________________________________________________

*”Young Man from Suphan” is a humorous Carabao song about a young man from Suphan coming into the big city. It is used here because Add himself was a young man from Suphan who came into the big city, Bangkok.

**Probably Laos, where young Thierry Mekwattana was an actor in a TV show, or Switzerland [Thierry is half Swiss]. The meeting of Add and Lek, and Thierry’s show in Loas is illustrated in the music video for the 4oth Anniversary song: 40 ปี ฅนคาราบาว See Sip Bpee Kon Carabao (40 Years of Carabao People) [Ye Olde Carabao Band: 40 Years]

***By “two people together,” maybe he means Add wrote that song and Thierry only sang it. And it was lucky from Thierry’s point of view that “Ham Tiam” was banned and not “Nang Ngam Dtu Grajok” because Add sings “Ham Tiam” and Thierry sings “Nang Ngam Dtu Grajok,” so the song Thierry famously sings wasn’t banned.

****To learn about the concept of an “October Person” see the Carabao song “Tears of the October Friends” and my introduction. To learn more about young Add’s involvement with communism (he wasn’t yet Add Carabao, which is a stage name), see “Che 2018” and the introduction. Some math: If Add’s 6 years helping the communists began around October 14, 1973 (including mass protests around Democracy Monument that Add says he attended as a young person who didn’t really understand what was going on) and lasted till the government amnesty for communists in 1980 (which Add has expressed his thanks for) that would be about be about 6 years, corresponding to ages 18 to 25, and he would have been 21 during the October 6 event (the massacre of protesting students at Thammasat University), which deeply affected him although I don’t he was directly there that day. The first Carabao album came out in 1981, one year after the amnesty.

ความหมาย (Kwam Mai) Meaning IN SINGABLE ENGLISH

Melody and lyrics in Thai by ทิวา สาระจูฑะ Teewa Sarachuta
Album: อัลบั้ม ซึม เศร้า เหงา แฮงค์ Suem Sao Ngao Haeng (Soaked Sad Lonely Hungover) (2005)

Very rough. For demonstration purposes only:

Try of sing along with the video in Thai:

Life’s meaning is up to those alive
Thoughts have meaning driving things you do
Bright white has meaning in dark gloom
Words’ mean something too from your intent

Questions have meaning in the answers,
Whose meanings advance from questions sent
Minutes have meaning in the hours
The seconds when used have meaning then

Everything has meaning based on your look around
While fire hits the cold, hidden meaning’s to be found
‘Tween smiles and the tears, meaning’s there to slay fragility

The sky has meaning in having stars
Cold nights have meaning for the brave
Gentleness has meaning in severity
Competition can mean you will not cave
(2X)

Everything has meaning based on your look around
While fire hits the cold, hidden meaning’s to be found
‘Tween smiles and the tears, the meaning there will slay fragility

Life’s meaning’s determined by those with life . . .

40 ปี ฅนคาราบาว See Sip Bpee Kon Carabao (40 Years of Carabao People) [Ye Olde Carabao Band: 40 Years]

Lyrics by ยืนยง โอภากุล Yuenyong Opakul and ปรีชา ชนะภัย Preecha Chanopai
Composer: คาราบาว Carabao
From 40th Anniversary Album อัลบั้ม 40 ปี ฅนคาราบาว (40 years of Ye Old Carabao People)

Note: There is a joke in the title. The “kon” meaning “people” in “Carabao people” is spelled in the ancient way using an obsolete letter “k” that is no longer in the Thai alphabet. In the song, Carabao is protesting that they are still relevant while spelling “Carabao people” using an old-fashioned spelling. Maybe a good translation would be “Ye olde Carabao Band: 40 Years.”

This song riffs off the theme song for the TV show คาราบาว เดอะซีรีส์ “Carabao The Series,” which came out the year of the 30th Anniversary. It was an anthology series, with each episode covering a famous Carabao song, first with an intro to the song by the band Carabao, then a drama based on the song of the week, another few words from the band commenting on the drama, and some famous younger band (a different band each week) covering the Carabao song of the week in a totally new way. Most of the episodes were REALLY well done. If you can partially understand Thai, this show is MUST SEE. Search for คาราบาว เดอะซีรีส์ on YouTube.

ADD SINGS:
จากสุพรรณมากับรถไปรษณีย์
[I] came from Suphan [by hitching a ride] with a postal vehicle*
สตางค์พอมีแต่จำต้องประหยัด
[I] had enough money but I needed to be thrifty
เข้าสู่เมืองกรุงมุ่งมาเป็นเด็กวัด
I came into the big city intending to be a temple boy
ได้ข้าวก้นบาตรหล่อเลี้ยงชีวี
Receiving leftovers to nourish myself
ณ ช่างก่อสร้างอุเทนถวายฯ
At Uthentawai School of Architecture
เรียนตามพี่ชายเขาเคยอยู่ที่นี่
I studied following my older brother who had been here
เลยได้เพื่อนใหม่เป็นนักดนตรี
And so I got new friends who were musicians
สูงยาวเข่าดี ปรีชา ชนะภัย
Nice and tall, Preecha Chanapai [Lek]

LEK SINGS:
เต้นกินรำกินเป็นศิลปินไส้แห้ง
[I] performed for a living, being a starving artist
กลางคืนแสดงวงเพรสซิเดนท์เล่นเพลงฝรั่ง
At night, shows of the band President played Farang songs
กลางวันแสดงโรงแรมนานาแนวคันทรี
In the day, shows at the hotel had all genres of music
กับคุณเทียรี สุทธิยง เมฆวัฒนา
With Khun Thierry Suthiyong Mekwattana
มาวันหนึ่งคิดถึงเพื่อนเก่า
Then one day, I was thinking of an old friend
อยากฟังเพลงลุงขี้เมาที่เพื่อนเรารังสรรค์
I wanted to hear the song “Lung Kee Mao” [“The Drunken Uncle”] that our friend had created
แต่มันกลับกลายเป็นทำร้ายให้เพื่อนตกงาน
But that unexpectedly became something that hurt my friend, causing him to lose his job
เพราะสมัยนั้นเขาห้ามเล่นเพลงไทย
Because in that era, we weren’t allowed to play Thai songs.

THEIRRY SINGS:
เกิดเวียงจันทน์ ปีสองพันห้าร้อยหนึ่ง
I was born in Vientiane [Loas] in the year 2501 [1958]
สองขวบติดตามพ่อแม่กลับเมืองไทย
At age two, I returned with my mother and father back to Thailand
เคยเป็นพระเอกหนังเรื่อง โอ้…กุ๊กไก่
I had previously been a movie actor [in] “Oh Gook Gai” [Oh “Chicken Coop”]
ทั้งเป็นนักดนตรีห้องอัดอโซน่า
I was both a musician at Ozana recording studio
เคยเล่นโฟล์คซองกับพี่เล็กมาก่อน
And I had previously played folksongs with P’Lek
จึงเป็นเพื่อนเกลอกันในยุคแสวงหา
And so we were friends/pals in the era of seeking/chasing [something]
ผมเชื่อเหลือเกินมันคือโชคชะตา
I really believe it was fate
ลิขิตนำพาเป็น เทียรี่ คาราบาว
destining, leading me to be Thierry Carabao

ADD SINGS:
จากเดือนตุลาสองห้าสองสี่ สี่สิบปีแล้ว
From October 2524 [1981], 40 years now
เพื่อนเอ๋ยน้องแก้วกอดคอกันมาเพื่อนคาราบาว
Oh friends, dear younger brothers and sisters, come tossing arms around each others shoulders, Carabao friends!
ผลงานมากมายผ่านร้อนหนาว
So many works [of art and entertainment] completed through hot and through cold
คนหนุ่มคนสาวคนเฒ่ายังเป็นแฟนๆ
Young men, young women, and old people are still fans

LEK SINGS:
กี่หมื่นกี่แสนกี่ล้านกิโลก็ไม่ย่อท้อ
However many ten thousands, hundred thousands, or millions of kilos [we travel on tour], we won’t be disheartened.
ตราบที่มีแรงไปต่อจะขอโลดแล่น
And long as we have strength to go on, let’s rush on
สติยังดีสองขาสองแขน
Our minds are still good, and we have two legs and two arms
ยังไม่มีแผนเลิกเล่นจะเลิกทำไม
We still have no plans to quit playing. Why would we quit?

ADD SINGS:
เพราะลมหายใจเข้าออกเป็นเพื่อชีวิต
Because the breath [we] breathe is For Life**
เพราะลมหายใจเข้าออกคือคาราบาว
Because the breath [we] breathe is Carabao

(Solo)

ADD SINGS
เพราะลมหายใจเข้าออกเป็นเพื่อชีวิต
Because the breath [we] breathe is For Life
เพราะลมหายใจเข้าออกคือคาราบาว
Because the breath [we] breathe is Carabao

THIERRY SINGS:
จากคำนินทาก้าวมายิ่งใหญ่วงเพื่อชีวิต
From rumors, we’ve made great strides here, a band For Life
ฟ้าดินลิขิตให้สู้ให้สร้างรับใช้สังคม
Sky and Earth have written that [we] must create and serve society
ให้มีเสียงเพลงคอยอุ้มสม
so there are songs to match [what is going on]
ถ่วงโลกกลมๆ ใบนี้ด้วยคุณธรรม
So that this round, round world is weighted down with merit/virtue

ADD SINGS:
ตะวันคล้อยต่ำแทนคำเปรียบเปรยว่าเฒ่าชรา
In place of words hinting that we are old and senile, the sun [just] travels and sets
คนเราเกิดมา มีใครบ้างหนาผู้คนจดจำ
We people are born into the world. Is there anyone people remember?
ตราบชีพยังอยู่ จะขอตอกย้ำ
As long as we still have life, let us stress
จะก้มหน้าทำหน้าที่ฅนคาราบาว
We will put our heads down and do the duty of [ye olde] Carabao people.

All SING:
40 ปีแล้ว ยังขอตอกย้ำ
40 years now. Let us emphasize again
จะก้มหน้าทำหน้าที่… ฅนคาราบาว
We will put our heads down and do the duty of [ye olde] Carabao people.

*The story of young Add heading off to Bangkok, hitching a ride on a postal vehicle, is covered in another autobiographical song that is amazingly good: ไม่ยืนยง Mai Yuenyong (Not Endure [Forever])
**The genre of music they play is called “Songs for Life,” or “For Life.” Wikipedia defines “Songs for Life” as “a type of Thai folk music, strongly influenced by elements of Western folk and rock music with a protest theme mainly centered on the hardship of working-class people and in favor of a democratic political system.” The genre started in the 1970s but Carabao became the most successful example of the genre in the 1980s. The definition given in Wikipedia may be skewed by the example of Carabao.

ทุ่งฝันตะวันรอน Tung Fun Dtawan Ron (The Meadow Dreams of the Sunset) IN SINGABLE ENGLISH

Translation of song by  ยืนยง โอภากุล Yuenyong Opakul, aka แอ๊ด คาราบาว Add Carabao
Album: ทุ่งฝันตะวันรอน Tung Fun Dtawan Ron (The Meadow Dreams of the Sunset) (2006)

NOTE: The voice clip is for demonstration purposes only, so you can learn to sing along with the video (and the song is out of my range). The direct translation is HERE.

ถ้าหลับฝันเป็นความจริง คงตามเก็บไม่ได้หมด
If dreams are in fact real, it’s still nothing we keep
ถ้าหลับฝันนั้นเป็นฝัน จากผลผลิตของกาลนอน
If dreams are just dreams, they’re the product of sleep
แต่ฝันเมื่อยามตื่น ใครเคยเชยชมมาก่อน
But who, after they wake, their dreams still can caress
ทุ่งฝันตะวันรอน งดงาม ประทับใจ
A meadow dreams of sunset. Its colors impress

ชีวิตเป็นความจริง มีบางสิ่งที่ยิ่งใหญ่
Now life, it is real. It has some things that are great.
ความรักและเห็นใจ โลกทั้งใบยังต้องการ
Both empathy, love. The whole world needs to relate.
ฝันถึงโลกใบนี้ มีแต่ความรักเบ่งบาน
Dream of blossoming love. For the whole world, suppose
มีแต่ชีวิตแบ่งปัน…ครองฝันในใจตน
There’s only life that flows, ruling the dreams in one’s heart

จงเก็บทุ่งฝันไว้เถิด…ถนอมรักทั้งดอกผล
Store a harvest of love, a field of dreams set apart
ดอกฝันในใจตน…คือผลพวงแห่งรัก
Dream flowers in your heart, love’s consequence show
ความรักอันยิ่งใหญ่…ฉันอยากให้คนทุกคนรู้จัก
A love that is huge . . . I want each person to know
โลกที่มีแต่ดอกรัก…คนมีแต่ดอกฝัน
Earth’s love-flowers blow, people’s flower-dreams reel

ถ้าฝันเป็นความจริง สิ่งเดียวที่ฉัน มุ่งมั่น
If dreams could be true. One thing that appeals
จะ เปลี่ยน ทุ่ง ทานตะวัน เป็นทุ่งฝันแห่งผองชน
I’d make a sunflower field become a meadow of dreams
โลกไม่มีใบที่สอง คนก็เกิด แค่หนึ่งหน
There is no Earth number two. We’re born just once it seems
ขอความฝันในใจคน จงเป็นบานด้วยดอกฝัน
May all the world’s hearts’ dreams, bloom and flowers reveal
ขอดอกฝันในใจคนจงเป็นบานเต็มทุ่งฝัน
May dream sunflowers team, spread across a dream field
ทุ่งฝันตะวันรอน
Meadows dream of sunset
ทุ่งฝันตะวันร้อน
Meadows dream of sunset
ทุ่งฝันตะวันรอน
Meadows dream of the show
ทุ่งฝันตะวันรอน
As sun slowly goes

Lyrics Translations for the Band