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Keo Carabao speaks about Add Carabao after releasing the song เพื่อนเพื่อชีวิต “Peuan Peua Chewit” (“Friends For Life”)

Translated from a video on Meta titled “ป๋าเขียว พูดถึง พี่แอ๊ด บันทึกสุดท้าย เพื่อนเพื่อชีวิต เขียว คาราบาว ส.คนรัก คาราบาว ตำนานที่ยังมีลมหายใจ #VICETV”

Note: Keo Carabao, real name Kirati Promsaka na Sakon Nakhon, is of course one of the three original members of Carabao. He quit at the end of the classic period to do other things, but has remained involved, coming back for some anniversary concerts and the like and doing some sound work for the band. Keo Carabao recently released the song เพื่อนเพื่อชีวิต (Peuan Peua Chewit)

Keo Carabao: Within Carabao, I believe that Add is not national ranking (within Thailand), he is world ranking. He has a special ability to be able to write lyrics, like continuously on and on and on. But sometimes he is not all that careful. And maybe his history is wrong in some songs.* He’s in a bit of a hurry. He’s got a gift for writing lyrics, and it’s something which can’t be taught; it must be within himself.

“Afraid the cat will come and steal it.” How’d he write those song lyrics? The song “Mai Koei” (“Never Before”). Those words “Afraid the cat will come and steal [it],” put [it] away in a cabinet, keep [it] in a cabinet. I’m afraid the cat will come and steal [it].** [laughing] How’d he think of those words?

“A calendar star . . . . ” [“A calendar star still sends a smile to my foolish”] *** How did Add write that? When singing it, one thinks of the calendar of starlets that’s hanging. [points towards the wall]

Grammy [music label] studied Add’s method of writing without success. Put it up on the board and argue together about it. They had a team studying it.

He is the person*** who brought what it was to be “Songs for Life” genre to discuss with me. We needed to have Caravan as the template. Make songs for society. And one of his ideas/points was that we would help the citizens, or help Thailand. And we needed to be famous first. How are people going to believe us? We say whatever amongst ourselves. How do we get to the point where they to listen to us if we are some hicks? Then no one would have listened to us. And because of that we had to rise whatever it took. And then people would listen. Because in the times past when we went on concert tour, people wouldn’t just come to see the concert, they would come to see Add speak. This year Add will bring up whatever matter to tell the people. Like the news reporters [he] has read, [he] summarizes that news for the brothers and sisters, the people, to hear [like] “This person is like this. Don’t believe them,” [he] criticizes. To the point that he might be jumping down from the stage. [Laughing]

*He is likely referring to the song “Made in Thailand,” in which, according to Add, his famous list of Thai eras from “Sukothai, Lop Buri, Ayuthaya, Thon Buri” to the Bangkok era is incorrect.
**The whole line is “”เก็บเอาความรักใส่กุญแจไว้ กลัวแมวจะมาขโมย” “Keep [one’s] love locked away, afraid the cat will steal it.” From the song ไม่เคย “Never Before,” which I believe is a song Add wrote for a Keo Carabao solo album, but I’m not sure.
*** I believe he is talking about Add here, but grammatically it could instead mean “they are the people” meaning the Grammy team.
**** “ปฏิทินดารา ยังส่งยิ้มมาถากถางหัวใจ” “A calendar star still sends a smile to my foolish heart” from the song สัญญาหน้าฝน (Sanya Na Fon) (Rainy Season’s Promises).

ฟูจิยามะ Fujiyama

Composed and posted straight to Meta by Add Carabao (to his Add Bao fan page) on April 28, 2024.
Photographer: Linjong Opakul

Note: The context is that he was on vacation glamping with his wife near Mount Fujiyama in Japan and he wrote this song and she did the filming/photography. Add Carabao posted it to his Add Bao page with the note “ตายครั้งที่หนึ่งไม่ฝังก็เผา ตายครั้งที่สองให้ผู้คนถวิลหา อิเอยาสึ โตกูกะว่า จิตร ภูมิศักดิ์ เชกูวารา……” which translates: “[You] die the first time, if you aren’t buried you are cremated. [As for] the second death], have people miss/long for Leyasu Tokugawa, Jit Phumisak, Che Guevara …” which makes sense once you listen to the song.

The beauty of the fresh/live* world is beyond dreams, beyond imagination.
I’ve only seen this scene before in my dreams.
It’s so amazing that I can come view it.
Fujiyama this time I am seeing it all in person.
The mountain is spectacular, outstanding
Snow covers the top of the volcano.

In Yamanashi Prefecture where it stands there are many interesting things
There is a lake around the volcano, and coffins buried here that are the best in Japan. [SPOKEN: This I really, really like!]
Famous old temples, and hot springs so we can keep warm
That I can come connect with it is a blessing.** [One] is happy being a person in the middle of nature.

We people are born in order to pass away. There is nothing left bigger/greater than Fujiyama volcano
If you don’t get sick and die, you will be killed. Life is impermanence, suffering, and the state of no-self
The first time you die, if you are not buried, you are cremated. The second death is that people will miss you.
Tokugawa Ieyasu said, people’s beliefs/faith can be compared to Fuji Volcano.

We people are born in order to pass away. There is nothing left bigger/greater than Fujiyama volcano
If you don’t get sick and die, you will be killed. Life is impermanence, suffering, and the state of no-self
The first time you die, if you are not buried, you are cremated. The second death is that people will miss you.
Jit Phumisak,*** Che Guevarra**** [are] people whose faith compares with Fiji Volcano.

Fujiyama, Fujiyama, Fujiyam, Fujiyama

*There are words that I can’t hear clearly that I am guessing are สดๆ (sod sod), which means “fresh,” “live,” or “green.”
**The translation “blessing” for บุญ (boon) is not totally accurate, but rather a word an American might use in a similar situation. A บุญ is a favor, benefit, piece of good luck that comes to you because of karma.
***Jit Phumisak (จิตร ภูมิศักดิ์ often spelled Chit Phumisak) was (according to Wikipedia) “A Thai Marxist historian, activist, author, philologist, poet, songwriter, and communist revolutionary” and “has been described as ‘The Che Guevara of Thailand'” His amazing song “แสงดาวแห่งศรัทธา” (“Starlight of Faith”) has been an anthem of the Thai prodemocracy movement from 1976 until the present. A rhyming English translation of “Starlight of Faith” is available off-site at Music of Thai Freedom. I have argued in an on-site article about important metaphors in Thai songs that metaphors from “Starlight of Faith” add context to several Add Carabao songs. Finally, the song กลิ่นรวงทอง (The Scent of Golden Ears of Rice) from the 4th Carabao album is a cover of a Jit Phumisak song.
**** Add Carabao has written at least two songs about Che Guevara. The most recent is translated HERE (at this site).

เพื่อนชีวิต Peuan Chewit (Life Friends)

Sung by: เขียว คาราบาว Keo Carabao (real name: Kirati Promsaka Na Sakon Nakhon)
From the Keo Carabao solo album เพื่อนชีวิต Peuan Chewit (Life Friends) (2024)
Lyrics and Melody ธนภัทร พุทธกะ , ทนง แซ่เฮ็ง Thanapat Puttaka, Thanong Saeheng

Note: The video is touching for all the pictures of Keo Carabaos’s musician friends who appear in the video. These are other Peu Chewit or “For Life” artists who are Peuan Chewit, or Life Friends (a little bit of word play). I’ve listed some of the non-Carabao and former Carabao friends of Keo Carabao appearing in the music video for whom there is further information at this site, available at the hyperlinks. (Some people appear several times in the video but I only note their best cameo):
Minute 1:47: Eed Opakul (Add Carabao’s identical twin) and Nga Caravan (Songs for Life artist who came before and inspired Carabao).
Minute 1:59 Pao Carabao (former Carabao drummer who passed away in 2017)
Minute 2:06 Maleehuana (another Songs for Life artist);
Minute 3:13 Phongthaep “Mu” Kradonchamnan Former member of the band Caravan, who left Caravan and toured with Carabao in their early years (around the time of Made in Thailand and then went on to have a successful solo career.)
Minute 3:18: Asanee Chotikul (another Songs for Life artist).

This music video came out before Duk Carabao passed away, but the theme of the song broadly applies to him as well. Note that Keo is a founding member of Carabao and he left the band Carabao before Duk joined, which explains his absence from Keo’s old pictures of Carabao.

เพื่อนบางคนมันก็ ขี้เมาเหลือเกิน
Some friends are drunks, very much so.
บางคนเงียบๆบางคนใจร้อนบางคนใจเย็น
Some are very quiet. Some are hot headed and some are chill.
และทุกคนต่างก็มีหน้าที่ของตน
And each individual has their own personality
มีคนที่อยู่มีคนที่หายที่จาก ไปชั่วกาลเวลา
There are people living, and people who have left us over time.

ก่อนที่เรื่องราวจะเป็นความหลัง
Before the stories are all behind [us]
เรื่องเล่ามากมายของเอ็งกับฉัน
So many stories of you and me to tell
ยังคิดถึงวันที่เราตั้งวงคุยกัน นั่งร่ำสุรายันเช้า
I still think back to the days that we would sit in a circle, talk, and drink till morning.
หายไปดิ้นรนก็เพื่อชีวิต มีเพียงแค่มึงเป็นเพื่อนชีวิต
All gone, the struggle that was For Life. I have only you guys who are Life Friends
จากนี้จนวันสุดท้ายไปจนถึงวันตาย
From today until the last day, until the day we die.
เป็นเพื่อนกันมันไม่ง่าย ก็เป็นแล้วมันเลิกไม่ได้
It’s not easy all being friends, but that’s what we already are, and it can’t be undone.
เพื่อนชั่วชีวิตก็มีแค่มึง
[As for] whole-life friends, there’s just you all

ไม่ว่าจะตีกันมากเท่าไร
No matter how much we get into fights
เพื่อนก็ยังคือเพื่อนอย่างเดิม และยิ่งชัดเจน
Friends are still friends as before, and even more clearly
ไม่ต้องพูดเยอะพี่ลี้พิไร พยักหน้าเอาเป็นว่ารู้กัน
No need to say much, just hanging out and teasing. Nodding heads to acknowledge we know each other.
ก็เพียงแค่นั้น ก็มันรู้ทัน ก็เป็นเพื่อนกันนี่หว่า
Just that and they know immediately, we’re all friends here.

ก่อนที่เรื่องราวจะเป็นความหลัง
Before the stories are all behind us
เรื่องเล่ามากมายของเอ็งกับฉัน
So many stories of you and me
ยังคิดถึงวันที่เราตั้งวงคุยกัน นั่งร่ำสุรายันเช้า
I still think of the days that we would sit in a circle, talk, and drink till morning.

หายไปดิ้นรนก็เพื่อชีวิต มีเพียงแค่มึงเป็นเพื่อนชีวิต
All gone, the struggle that was For Life. I have only you guys who are Life Friends
จากนี้จนวันสุดท้ายไปจนถึงวันตาย
From today until the last day, until the day we die.
เป็นเพื่อนกันมันไม่ง่าย ก็เป็นแล้วมันเลิกไม่ได้
It’s not easy all being friends, but that’s what we already are, and it can’t be undone.
เพื่อนชั่วชีวิตก็มีแค่มึง
[As for] whole-life friends, there’s just you all

ก่อนที่เรื่องราวจะเป็นความหลัง
Before the stories are all behind us
เรื่องเล่ามากมายของเอ็งกับฉัน
So many stories of you and me to tell
ยังคิดถึงวันที่เราตั้งวงคุยกัน นั่งร่ำสุรายันเช้า
I still think back to the days that we would sit in a circle, talk, and drink till morning.
หายไปดิ้นรนก็เพื่อชีวิต มีเพียงแค่มึงเป็นเพื่อนชีวิต
All gone, the struggle that was For Life. I have only you guys who are Life Friends
จากนี้จนวันสุดท้ายไปจนถึงวันตาย
From today until the last day, until the day we die.
เป็นเพื่อนกันมันไม่ง่าย ก็เป็นแล้วมันเลิกไม่ได้
It’s not easy all being friends, but that’s what we already are, and it can’t be undone.
เพื่อนชั่วชีวิตก็มีแค่มึง
[As for] whole-life friends, there’s just you all

Add Carabao’s songwriting and the Buddhist concept of “yonisomanasikara” (proper attention)

Note: I recently wrote an article about “Humanism in the Add Carabao Songs,” however, I was well aware at the time that I was interpreting the subject through the lens of my own culture. To understand Add Carabao (Yuenyong Opakul)’s songwriting on it’s own terms, one must start from Add’s repeated statements that the songs are strongly influenced by Buddhism. And now I recognize that the Buddhist concept of yonisomanasikāra (proper attention), in particular, which he mentions in this interview, is key to understanding his body of work. I’m documenting this as a lead for any English-language musicologists studying the work of this singer/songwriter.

Rough translation:

Add Carabao: People who don’t have suffering, maybe they don’t understand about Dharmic Truth. But whenever suffering arises, you have to entrust yourself [to someone/something] to help you. As for the help, some people go to the temple and make merit and think that will have good results for them….[I] didn’t entrust myself to god, I entrusted myself to myself. I must practice myself.*

Bom Sincharoen: That’s probably a good way to think about it.

Add: You have to rely on your own practice.

Bom: Does it get good results?

Add: In the beginning when I started to meditate, it was boring. But after that I found the branch of Luang Pa Tian (a monk). I thought, this makes sense/seems right. I did it all the time, every day.

Bom: Does your study help you compose songs?

Add: When I was studying Dharma it helped me add another branch of substance to my songs. When I was composing songs, for many, many songs, knowledge of this subject came and helped me throughout all my songs. In the period after that there were matters that arose where Dharma was relevant, to some extent. And that was a benefit. For songwriters, the thing you can’t skip is to read, search, find new information. Write it down and try to practice and see. Because there is no fixed formula when it comes to songwriting. And after you have the information, you must use yonisomanasikāra [proper attention].*

Bom: Yyonisomanasikāra [proper attention].*

Add: People generally know it well. The act of thinking cleverly, what would be good to go on and do? What would be best to do? And put your hand to doing it for real.

*”To do good things (and relieve oneself from suffering) depends on oneself and not “God” who does not necessarily even exist in the Buddhist way of thinking. Buddha is not a God but a teacher. That you must find the way yourself, is a main principle of Buddhism.
**See the article “The Concept of Yonisomanasikāra ‘Proper Attention’ as a Buddhist Way to Social Peace” as I believe this Bhuddist concept yonisomanasikāra is key to Add’s thought process in many, many songs.

Rest in Peace ดุก คาราบาว Duk Carabao (ลือชัย งามสม Luechai Ngaamsom)

ลือชัย งามสม Luechai Ngaamsom aka ดุก คาราบาว Duk Carabao passed away presumably on March17, 2004 (when we all heard the news). He had been playing with Carabao in recent days so this comes as a shock to all. He was the keyboardist. He could also play trumpet. According to P’Lek’s eulogy on his Facebook page Lek Carabao Solo, he was a friend of Lek’s from way back, even before Lek’s band President. He says they formed a band together called “The Mission” which was Lek’s first experience fully being a professional musician and P’Duk was the band leader. That band lasted three years but P’Lek stayed friends with P’Duk until Lek rejoined Carabao for the album “วิชาแพะ” Wecha Pe (The Subject of [Scape]goats) in 1991, and he introduced him to P’Add. Then P’Duk joined the Carabao being fully involved with the album สัจจะสิบประการ Satja Sip Bragan (Ten Truths) in 1992, and has been with Carabao ever since.

I met him once and he was very friendly and welcoming. I’m sure other fans have had the same experience. I extend my deep sympathies to the family, the band, and the other fans, and thank P’Duk for 3 decades of great music.

When I searched at my website for songs in which Duk Carabao has explicit writing credits, I got this song, ในนามแห่งความรัก Nam Heng Rak (In the Name of Love) from 1994. The credits say “By ยืนยง โอภากุล Yuenyong Opakul, aka แอ๊ด คาราบาว Add Carabao; ลือชัย งามสม Luechai Ngaamsom aka ดุก คาราบาว Duk Carabao; ขจรศักดิ์ หุตะวัฒนะ Kajonsak Hudtawattana aka หมี คาราบาว Mee Carabao. This song is a hidden gem and you can hear the keyboard.

อ้อล้อ Aw Law (Cute)

From the ซูซู ZuZu album สู่ความหวังใหม่ Su Kwam Wang Mai (Towards a New Hope) (1989)
Composed ยืนยง โอภากุล Yuenyong Opakul (aka Add Carabao) and วีระศักดิ์ ขุขันธิน (Wirasak Khukhanthin).

Note: According to the Thai wikipedia entry for this album, Add had already written 80 percent of this song and Wirasak Khukhanthinasked him to finish it by added content related to “ยาดอง,” which is medicine made from herbs soaked in liquor. From other googling, I find the song title and refrain, “อ้อล้อ” is a Southern word with both a positive and negative connotation. The positive connotation is cute, bright, cheerful and lively, while the negative connotation is that someone acts erratically, mindlessly, or inappropriately, especially towards men. So the meaning depends on the context and the speaker’s intent. I translated “[You’re too] cute” to try to get the double meaning. There end of the word sounds like the Thai word for “wait,” so I’m guessing there is some word play, especially evident in the last line. I don’t see any singing credits for Yuenyong Opakul on this, but he may be singing in the chorus. He coproduced the album and sings and plays a little on other songs on this same album. You can google and find concerts where อ้อล้อ Aw Law (Cute) is sung by Add Carabao, but I don’t see any videos that are official as opposed to bootleg.

นานไปหน่อยแล้วหนา เธอปล่อยให้ฉันได้แต่นั่งคอย
Its been kind of long, you know, that you’ve had me just sitting and waiting.
คอยจนเมื่อยปวดหลัง แต่ว่าความหวังนั้นยังห่างไกล
I’m waiting until I’m tired and my back is hurting, but hope is still far away.
เนิ่นนานไปหัวใจมันเจ็บ เนิ่นนานไปรสชาติมันกร่อย
So long that my heart is hurting. So long that flavors are bland.
ว่าคอยว่าเฝ้า ว่าเหงาว่ารอ อ้อล้อ อ้อล้อ
That I wait, that I watch, that I’m lonely, that I wait. [You’re too] cute. Cute

หรือมันจะมากไปไหม ที่บอกว่ารักเธอจนหมดใจ
Or is it maybe too much, that I say that I love you (dear) with all my heart?
หรือมีคนอื่นอีกไหม ที่บอกว่ารักเธอมากกว่าฉัน
Or is there someone else, who has said they love you more than me?
เปิดให้ดูหัวใจเธอหน่อย ให้เธอดูหัวใจฉันหน่อย
Open up and view your heart so you can see my heart a little.
ว่าคอยว่าเฝ้าว่าเหงาว่ารอ อ้อล้อ
That I wait, that I watch, that I’m lonely, that I wait. [You’re too] cute. Cute.

ขอเพียงคำๆ เดียว ว่ารักจากเธอเท่านั้นก็พอ
I only want one word from you, “love,” and that would be enough
ขอเพียงคำๆ เดียว จะนานเท่าไรเท่านั้นก็รอ
I only want one word, and however long, I will wait
แต่อย่ามาพูดปด ไม่ใช่เด็กแล้วนะ
But don’t fib [to me]. I’m not a child anymore.
แบหัวใจออกมา แบหัวใจออกมา บอกมาเถิด
Open up your heart. Open up your heart. Tell me!

ขอเพียงคำๆ เดียว ว่ารักจากเธอเท่านั้นก็พอ
I only want one word from you, “love,” and that would be enough
ขอเพียงคำๆ เดียว จะนานเท่าไรเท่านั้นก็รอ
I only want one word, and however long, I will wait
แต่อย่ามาพูดปด ไม่ใช่เด็กแล้วนะ
But don’t fib [to me]. I’m not a child anymore.
แบหัวใจออกมา แบหัวใจออกมา
Open up your heart. Open up your heart.

นานอีกหน่อยไม่ไหว คงแตกสลายคงไหวสั่นคลอน
Any little bit longer, and I can’t take it. I will probably break, will probably start to stagger
ใจฉันให้แน่ให้นอน จะหย่อนลงไว้ในโหลยาดอง
I give you my heart, for sure. It will be dropped into a jar of yadong
เก็บเอาไว้ให้เธอมาดื่ม เก็บเอาไว้ไม่ให้มันเน่า
It will be kept for you to drink so it doesn’t rot.
ว่าคอยว่าเฝ้า ว่าเหงาว่ารอ อ้อล้อ อ้อล้อ
I think I’ll wait, and watch, be lonely, and wait. [You’re too] cute. Cute.

เก็บเอาไว้ให้เธอมาดื่ม เก็บเอาไว้ไม่ให้มันเน่า
It will be kept for you to drink so it doesn’t rot
ว่าคอยว่าเฝ้า ว่าเหงาว่ารอ อ้อล้อ อ้อล้อ รอเธอ
I think I’ll wait, and watch, be lonely, and wait. [You’re too] cute. Cute. I wait for you.

เหงา…ไม่เข้าใจ Ngow … Mai Kow Jai ([It’s] Lonely … [I] Don’t Understand)

Composed by สมเกียรติ เมธาพฤทธิ์ Somkiat Methaprut, กำแหง เกรียงไกรธรณี Kamhaeng Kriangkraithain, and ทพนม สุวรรณะบุณย์ Thepanom Suwannabun
Album: หนุ่มบาว-สาวปาน Num Bao-Sao Parn (Carabao Boy – Parn Girl) (2005)

This song is adaptation of a Parn song เหงา…เข้าใจ. “[It’s] Lonely … [I] Understand,” now changed to “[It’s] Lonely . . . [I] Don’t Understand.” (In the video the original Parn song plays and then the TV fuzzes and it changes to the Carabao and Parn song. The original song with translation by Tamnong, can be found at the website Deungdutjai.com.

Overview: The joke is that in Parn’s song, from the woman’s point of view, it is understandable why a single woman would prefer to be lonely (its better than choosing the wrong guy and ending up in failure). From the man’s point of view (sung by members of Carabao), they don’t understand why the woman doesn’t look for a man.

I have labeled who is singing which lines. Be aware, that P’Ot is purposefully singing badly; it’s a joke relating back to the Carabao song “A Pot of Flowers for You.”

LEK: รถไม่มีคนขี่ น้ำไม่มีปลาเกิด เหล้าไม่มีที่เปิด คิดคิดดูเอาเถิด มันเสียชาติเกิดแท้แท้
The car has no rider. The water has no fish. The alcohol has no opener. See? It’s such a waste! *
THIERRY: แขนไม่มีคนเกี่ยว นึกว่าเดี๋ยวได้แน่ เผลอแป๊บเดียวก็แก่อยากมีคนดูแล ถึงรู้ว่าสายเกินไป
No one to walk hand in hand with [you]. [You] thought, in a minute, [you’d] get [a man] for sure. Before you know it, [you’ll] be old and want someone to look after [you], and then realize it’s too late.

PARN: * ไม่ได้หยิ่งจริงจริง มันยังไม่เจอะกับเค้า ไม่มีใครเอา มันเลยต้องเหงาเข้าใจ
[I] don’t play hard to get. [I] still haven’t met them yet. No one wants [me] at all. It’s understandable being lonely.
หน้าต่างประตูมาดูยังเปิดเอาไว้ ให้คนที่อยากเข้ามา
The windows and doors are still wide open for someone who wants to come in.

** กลางวันทำงาน กลางคืนนั่งทำใจ เวลาเจอใครมีแฟนก็อิจฉา
During the day [I] work. At night [I] sit and try to be OK [with it]. When [I] meet someone with a partner, I’m jealous.

คนดีคนใดก็ไม่เห็นมีมา ทำไมหายากเย็น เข็ญใจ
[I] don’t see any good person coming at all. Why are they so difficult to find? [I’m] miserable!
ตะโกนดังดังไม่อยากนั่งบนคาน มันมีอาการ อยากเกี่ยวก้อยกับใคร
Shouting loudly, [I] don’t want to be [left] “sitting on a beam” [an idiom for being single]. [I] want to be hand in hand with someone.**
บางทีคนเราก็แอบเหงาไม่เข้าใจ กำลังอยากมีใครไว้ให้กอด
Sometimes I secretly feel lonely and don’t understand why [I don’t have someone]. I always want someone to hug.

LEK: ของก็ขึ้นราคา หาไม่พอค่าจ่าย หารสองคนพอได้ ช่วยช่วยแชร์กันไป ได้ช่วยกันจ่ายช่วยรับ นะ
Things are getting so expensive. [I] can’t find enough to pay the bills. [We’ll] share and help each other pay [the bills] and get things, OK?
THIERRY: เที่ยวทุกคืนหรือเปล่า เขาว่าเมาให้หลับ หาสักคนช่วยขับ เผื่อคออ่อนคอพับ จะได้ถึงบ้านปลอดภัย จ้ะ
Aren’t you going out every night? They say when [one] gets so drunk [they] can’t hold [their] head up, [they] should sleep. Find one person to help you drive. You’ll arrive home safely!

PARN: (* , ** )

OT: อยู่คนเดียวมันเหงา เข้าใจ ดีกว่าคนใจร้าย เข้ามา มาทำให้เจ็บ ให้มีน้ำตาให้ผิดหวังฟรีฟรี
Living by yourself, it’s lonely. [I] understand. [But] it’s better than if a bad person were to come in [to the picture], come in and hurt me, and it ends up in tears and disappointment with no benefit.
ADD: เพราะเราเกิดมากับใจที่เหนื่อยล้า เพื่อตามหาที่พักพิงใจที่ใครสักคน
Because we were born with a weary heart so that we go to find some person we can rest our heart with.
เมื่อค่ำคืนที่มันเหงา ได้ผ่านพ้นเราจะพบกับรุ่งเช้า อันอำไพ
When the night is lonely, it passes and we meet the bright morning.

( Repeat ** )

*เสียชาติเกิด (sia chat gert) means literally “to waste the life [you were] born [into].” It’s said when someone, hasn’t done anything good thing or hasn’t had a good life as most people do. They have wasted their life.
** เกี่ยวก้อย (giow goy), which I have translated “hand in hand” actually is the motion or gesture “pinkie swear.”

ปาน ธนพร Parn Thanaporn

In 2005, Carabao joined up with famous female singer Parn Tanaporn, widely recognized as one of the best voices in Thailand, to make fresh music aimed at a younger generation. The iconic song (and iconic performance) from that collaboration is หนุ่มบาว-สาวปาน Num Bao Sao Parn (Carabao Boy and Parn Girl) in the first video below. The song, which is the title song of the first Carabao and Parn Tanaporn album, is about a young man who loves Carabao music falling in love with a young woman who loves Parn music. The lyrics, are basically an inside joke for fans of Carabao and/or Parn. That song with it’s many Easter eggs is translated and explained HERE to the best of my abilities. But anyone can immediately appreciate the eclectic sound—and that the song is a total earworm:

Who is Parn Thanaporn? Parn (pronounced “Bpan”), real name Thanaporn Wakprayoon, has an amazing voice that is both strong and emotional. She is twenty-some years younger than most of the Carabao band members. One of her biggest hits, เบอร์นี้ไม่มีคนของเธอ (This Number Doesn’t Have Your Person [at it]), is a great intro to her solo music. It’s the first song on this Parn Tanapporn song compilation YouTube video below.

“This Number Doesn’t Have Your Person [at it]” is about a woman, who gets sick of her boyfriend constantly contacting someone right in front of her and finally grabs his phone and tells the woman on the other end, “Your person isn’t here!,” finishing with, “Unless someone has died, don’t call!”

Parn has been singing since childhood, went to high school at the College of Dramatic Arts, began back-up singing while in high school, majored in music at Chulalongkorn University, and sang the original soundtracks for many dramas and movies before becoming a solo artist in 2000 under RS Promotion. Over the next two years she won a pile of awards, such as Best Song, Best Music Video (several times), Best Female Artist for the Youth, Best Solo Vocalist, and Best Thai Pop Singer. The collaboration with Carabao was in 2005, and in 2012, she was invited to play Effie White in the Bangkok version of the musical “Dreamgirls” [For comparison, Jennifer Hudson played Effie in the American film by the same name.] In addition to working on her own projects, Parn is a voice trainer for many big artists. In 2014, she got a master’s degree in music at Silpakorn University.

The origin of the Carabao – Parn collaboration is a friendship between Parn and Thierry Mekwattana of Carabao. They had previously made a solo album with RS. Also Parn had previously sung backup for Carabao while still in high school.

The 2005 collaboration between Parn and the band Carabao produced many duets that are completely addictive and ideal for karaoke. The project had Add Carabao writing some straight-up love songs–not his typical thing–and he knocked it out of the ballpark with 3 beautiful heartbreakers: สุ่มไฟรัก Sum Fai Rak (Build the Fire of Love), ดอกไผ่บาน Dok Pai Baan (The Bamboo Flower Blooms), and มนต์รักผีเสื้อ Mon Rak Pee Seua (Butterfly Love Spell).

To find additional great songs from this album go to Translations by Album at this site. (You are looking for “Num Bao Sao Parn (Special Carabao Album with Parn, 2005)”) None of the rest of that albums’ songs are written by Add Carabao, but one is written by Theirry Mekwattana and one by Lek Carabao (Preecha Chanapai). The other songs are presumably written by Parn’s people, and at least one is an adaptation of a Parn solo song. Specifically, เหงา…ไม่เข้าใจ Ngow…Mai Kowjai (It’s Lonely … I Don’t Understand) is a silly twist on a famous Parn song, “เหงา..เข้าใจ” Ngow Kowjai (It’s Lonely … I Understand).

Google her name in Thai to find more songs by ปาน ธนพร (Parn Thanaporn). You’ll find the lyrics to her best solo work translated into English by Tamnong at the website Deungdutjai.com (among translations of thousands of other great Thai songs). Here is the List of Translated Songs [sung] by Parn Thanaporn at Deungdutjai: http://deungdutjai.com/2000/04/06/translated-songs-by-parn-thanaporn/

เบอร์นี้ไม่มีคนของเธอ (“This Number Doesn’t Have Your Person [at it]”), mentioned above, is the second song in that list at Deungdutjai.

References:
Thai Wikipedia entry “ธนพร แวกประยูร” [Thanaporn Wakprayoon], as of 3/3/2004.
Thai Wikipedia entry “หนุ่มบาว-สาวปาน’ [Num Bao – Sao Parn, meaning “Carabao Boy – Parn Girl”], as of 3/3/2004
“Parn biography” at https://www.last.fm/music/Parn/+wiki. As of 3/3/2004

มนต์รักผีเสื้อ Mon Rak Pee Seua (Butterfly Love Spell)

Composed by ยืนยง โอภากุล Yuenyong Opakul
Album: หนุ่มบาว-สาวปาน Num Bao-Sao Parn (Carabao Boy – Parn Girl) (2005)

ADD:
โลกหมุนเวียนไปไม่มีสิ่งใดเที่ยงแท้
The world spins on its axis. There is nothing is definite.
แม้รักหญิงชายแน่วแน่
Even if the love of a woman and man is steadfast
แท้จริงยังไม่มั่นคง
In truth, it’s still not secure
เมื่อลืมตาได้ และยังหายใจได้ลง
When you can open your eyes and still breathe,
ชีวิตนี้ไยประสงค์ สิ่งใดได้มากกว่ากัน
why desire a better life?

Parn:
ผีเสื้อบินตอม ดอมดมดอก
Butterflies fly around sniffing the flowers
เพราะน้ำหวานหาได้มีความต้องการ
Because there is nectar to be found and there is a no need for the whole flower*
ฟังเพลงมนต์รักผีเสื้อ
Listen to the song “Butterfly Love Spell”
แล้วไยต้องเอา พิมเสนไปแลกกับเกลือ
And why if you get camphor [a rare essential oil] would you trade it for salt, [Why make a bad trade?].**
ในเมื่อเวลาที่เหลือ ช่างแสนสั้นและเปราะบาง
when the time left is so very short and fragile?

ADD: ณ เวลานั้น ฉันได้อยู่เคียงคู่เธอ
During that time, I can be beside you (dear).
มันคือความสุขเสมอ ของดวงใจคนอ้างว้าง
It is always a happiness for the heart of a lonely person
Parn: วันใดใครเบื่อ ชีวิตยังควรเดินทาง
On any day that one [of us] is bored, life should still move down the road.
กระซิบบอกกันไว้บ้าง จะยิ้มให้เธอโชคดี
Just whisper and tell me [you are done with the relationship]. I will smile wishing you good luck

ADD and PARN:
โลกหมุนเวียนวนให้คนจดจำวันนี้
The world spins and the time we remember now
ไม่ถึงเสี้ยววินาทีของจักรวาลกำเนิด
is less than a fraction of a second relative to the age of the universe
เกิดมาเป็นคน เป็นผลผลิตอันประเสริฐ
Born as people, a precious product***
ขอเพียงรักกันไว้เถิด โลกของเราจะไม่สั้นลง
Let’s just love each other. Our world won’t get [any] shorter.

PARN: ณ เวลานั้น ฉันได้อยู่เคียงคู่เธอ
During that time, I can be at your side, [dear].
มันคือความสุขเสมอ ของดวงใจคนอ้างว้าง
It is always a happiness for the heart of a lonely person
ADD: วันใดใครเบื่อ ชีวิตยังควรเดินทาง
On any day one of us bored, life should still move down the road.
กระซิบบอกกันไว้บ้าง จะยิ้มให้เธอโชคดี
Whisper and tell me [that you are done with the relationship]. I will smile wishing you good luck

ADD and PARN:
โลกหมุนเวียนวนให้คนจดจำวันนี้
The world spins around and the time we remember now
ไม่ถึงเสี้ยววินาทีของจักรวาลกำเนิด
is less than a fraction of a second of the universe
เกิดมาเป็นคน เป็นผลผลิตอันประเสริฐ
Born as people, a precious product
ขอเพียงรักกันไว้เถิด โลกของเราจะไม่สั้นลง
Let’s just love each other. Our world won’t get [any] shorter.

*An expert translator explains that “ไม่” is omitted at the end of this sentence. Adding it in gives: เพราะน้ำหวานหาได้มีความต้องการ(ดอกไม้)(ไม่).
**An expert translator explains that “อย่าเอาพิมเสนไปแลกกับเกลือ” (“Don’t trade camphor for salt” is an idiom.
*** An expert translator says that the sentence คนเป็นสัตว์ประเสริฐ (“people are bpresert (precious) animals”) is used in religious contexts, meaning humans, as opposed to animals, are intelligent creatures that have wisdom and can do good deeds. ประเสริฐ which I translated as “precious” can also be translated as “excellent” or “very special” with a religious conotation.

ไก่คู่บ้าน ช้างคู่เมือง Gai Koo Baan Chang Koo Muang (The Chicken Goes with the Home, The Elephant Goes with the Country)

By คาราบาว Carabao
This song first appeared on the album สาวเบียร์ช้าง Sow Beer Chang (Chang Beer Girl) in 2001, and was later collected on the album ขุนศึก (Warlord) in 2004.

This song defends chicken fighting, a sport that Yuenyoung Opakul (Add Carabao) was once heavily involved with. He does this by comparing it (ironically) to King Naresuan’s legendary elephant battle (ironic because chicken fighting is less grand than elephant fighting). For songs, with backstory, about the legendary elephant duel between King Naresuan and Crown Prince Mingyi Swa, check out พระนเรศวรมหาราช Pra Naresuan Maha Rat (King Naresuan the Great) and องค์ดำ Ong Dam.

I believe the title and refrain may be a play on words, in that one may be expecting the word กู้ (goo), meaning “save” or “rescue” rather than คู่ (koo) meaning “pairs with,” at least I was. Replacing คู่ with กู้ you would have “The chicken saves our home[land], the elephant saves the country.”

ไทยเป็นไทยในวันนี้ โชคดีที่ว่า
Thais are Thais today. It was lucky that
มีช้าง ควาย ม้า ต้านศัตรู
[we] have elephants, water buffalo, and horses to oppose the enemy
พระนเรศวรทรงช้าง กระทำศึกยุทธหัตถี
King Naresuan rode an elephant to go to do battle
เราจึงมีอนาคต เราจึงมีวันนี้เพราะใคร
And so we have a future and today because of who?
เราชนช้าง เอ้าช้าง ช้าง ช้าง ช้าง ช้าง
We collided elephants [in an elephant dual] OH elephants, elephants, elephants, elephants!

มองเมืองไทยในวันนี้ มั่งมีที่ไหนล่ะ แย่
Looking at Thailand today, where is the wealth? It’s terrible, poor!
เศรษฐกิจพังทลาย ไร่นาล่ม
The economy has collapsed, the farms collapse
ค่ำไปยันเช้าเฝ้าขบคิด ยังมีสิทธิ์พออยู่พอกิน
All day long I keep thinking, [I] still have the right to live and eat.
เลี้ยงไก่ชนไว้ใต้ถุน กินไม่หมดเอาไปขาย
[So I] raise fighting chickens under the house. Those [I/we] don’t eat, [I] go and sell them
เป็นไก่เนื้อ เป็นไก่ชน
They are chickens for eating. They are chickens for fighting [colliding]
เอ้าชน ชน ชน ชน ชน
Oh! Fight [collide]! Fight [collide]! Fight [collide]! Fight [collide]!

ไก่คู่บ้าน ช้างคู่เมือง
The chicken goes with the home, the elephant goes with the country
(มีความเจริญรุ่งเรือง)
([We] have prosperity)
ไก่คู่บ้าน ช้างคู่เมือง
The chicken goes with our home, the elephant goes with the country
(มีความเจริญรุ่งเรือง)
([We] have prosperity)
ไก่คู่บ้าน ช้างคู่เมือง
The chicken goes with the home, the elephant goes with the country
(มีความเจริญรุ่งเรือง)
([We] have prosperity)
ไก่คู่บ้าน ช้างคู่เมือง
The chicken goes with the home, the elephant goes with the country
(มีความเจริญรุ่งเรือง)
([We] have prosperity)

ช้าง ช้าง ช้างและไก่ชน ของคนไทยของดีๆ
Elephant and chicken fighting are good things for Thailand
(ของดีๆ ของคนไทย)
(Good things for Thailand)
ช้าง ช้าง ช้างและไก่ชน ของคนไทยของดีๆ
Elephant and chicken fighting are good things for Thailand
(ของคนไทยใช้ให้เป็น)
(Thai things [that we] use to exist)

ไก่คู่บ้าน ช้างคู่เมือง
The chicken goes with the home, the elephant goes with the country
(มีความเจริญรุ่งเรือง)
(Good things for Thailand)
ไก่คู่บ้าน ช้างคู่เมือง
The chicken goes with the home, the elephant goes with the country
(มีความเจริญรุ่งเรือง)
(Good things for Thailand)
ไก่คู่บ้าน ช้างคู่เมือง
The chicken goes with the home, the elephant goes with the country
(มีความเจริญรุ่งเรือง)
(Good things for Thailand)
ไก่คู่บ้าน ช้างคู่เมือง
The chicken goes with the home, the elephant goes with the country
(มีความเจริญรุ่งเรือง)
(Good things for Thailand)

ดอนเจดีย์ Don Chedi

By คาราบาว Carabao
Originally from the album รวมเพลงคาราบาว (Collection of Carabao Songs) (1985); later collected on the album ขุนศึก (Warlord) (2004)

This is the earliest (and mildest) of at least 4 Carabao songs relating to a legendary elephant battle or elephant dual that took place in Don Chedi District between King Naresuan and Crown Prince Mingyi Swa. For the backstory see the notes above translations of two much more exciting songs พระนเรศวรมหาราช Pra Naresuan Maha Rat (King Naresuan the Great) and องค์ดำ Ong Dam

ดอน เจ ดีย์
Don Chedi
มีเจ ดีย์อยู่บนดอน
Has a chedi [pagoda] up on a don [hill]
ดอน เจ ดีย์ ดอน เจดีย์
Don Chedi, Don Chedi
ดอน เจดีย์ เป็นปูชนีย์สถาน
Don Chedi is a place of worship
ดินแดนตำนาน
A legendary land
ขององค์ราชัน พระนเรศวร
of King Naresuan

หนองสาหร่าย
Nong Sarai
ตำบล ยุทธหัตถี
Battle District
ทรงกำไทยเหนือไพรี
Upholds the grasp of Thais over the enemy
นำทัพไทย แผ่นดินกลับคืน
Leads the Thai army to take back the land

ดอน เจ ดีย์
Don Chedi
มีเจ ดีย์อยู่บนดอน
Has a chedi [pagoda] up on a don [hill]
ดอน เจ ดีย์ ดอน เจดีย์
Don Chedi, Don Chedi

ดอน เจดีย์
Don Chedi
เป็นองค์ สักขีพยาน
Is an eye-witness
อันชาว ไทยแต่โบราณ
[to] Thai people since ancient times
คือชายชาญ ทหารกล้า
skilled men, brave soldiers
กู้เอกราช
rescuing independence
สร้างชาติ อธิปไตย
building a nation of sovereignty
เพื่อลูก เพื่อหลานสืบไป
for the children and their children to continue in
เพื่อคนไทย ทุกๆคน
for Thais, every one

ประวัติศาสตร์
History
เอกราช ของชนชาติไทย
The independence of the Thai nation
ได้มา ด้วยหยาดเหงื่อไคล
was obtained with sweat
ด้วยเลือดเนื้อ
with flesh and blood
ไปแลก กับเหล็ก
exchanged for iron [like exchanging blows with weapons]
เอาช้าง ไปชนกับช้าง
Bring elephants and collide them with elephants
อย่างองค์ พระ นเรศวร
Like King Naresuan
ทรงช้าง นำหน้าขบวน
took an elephant to lead the procession
แหกหลาวแหลนทวน
Spear and lance
ประชิดข้าศึก
Come up to the enemy
ง้าว ที่เงื้อสุดแรง
The ngow* that was raised, with all one’s might
ฟันลง เพื่อความเป็นไทย*
Slashed down for Thainess [for Thai culture, or for what it is to be Thai]
พระนเรศวรมีชัย
King Naresuan has victory
เราคนไทย มีแผ่นดินอยู่
We Thai people have a land to live in

ดอน เจดีย์
Don Chedi
สักขีของความเป็นไทย
Eyewitness to Thainess [Eyewitness to what it is to be Thai]
ลูกหลาน ได้จำใส่ใจ
The children and grandchildren [decedents] remember and care
บรรพบุรุษไทย ผู้ควรเทิดทูน
Thai ancestors who should be respected
ขอน้อมเกล้า แด่องค์ สมเด็จ
I salute you, Your Majesty
พระนเร ศวร มหาราช
Pra Naresuan, the Great
ในสงคราม ประวัติศาสตร์
In the history of war,
ของการกู้ชาติ ณ ดอนเจดีย์
of saving the nation at Don Chedi

ดอน เจดีย์
Don Chedi
มีเจ ดีย์อยู่บนดอน
Has a chedi [pagoda] up on a don [hill]
ดอน เจ ดีย์ ดอน เจดีย์
Don Chedi Don Chedi
ดอน เจ ดีย์
Don Chedi
มีเจ ดีย์อยู่บนดอน
Has a chedi [pagoda] up on a don [hill]
ดอน เจ ดีย์ ดอน เจดีย์
Don Chedi Don Chedi

*Looks like a jagged knife on the end of a long pole. According to Thai legend, it was a ngao that King Naresuan used to deal the fatal blow to Crown Prince Mingyi Swa.

พระนเรศวรมหาราช Pra Naresuan Maha Rat (King Naresuan the Great)

From the special Carabao album ขุนศึก (Warlord) (2004)
This seems to be mainly a compilation album of songs written earlier, so I can’t know for sure that this song wasn’t first published earlier than 2004. Also it sounds like movie music, which it may be.

Note: From Wikipedia (2/9/2014): “Naresuan is one of Thailand’s most revered monarchs as he is known for his campaigns to free Ayutthaya from the vassalage of the Taungoo Empire.” He was born Narat, a son of the King of Pitsanulok (in present-day Northern Thailand), and was also known as Pra Dam, or the “Black Prince.” When Narat or Dam was 11, his father Thammarachat lost a battle and as a vassal king under King Bayinnaung (aka Hongsawadi) was forced to give his son Narat away to Bayinnaung to ensure Thammarachat’s loyalty. Narat or Dam was away for 6 years, during which time he learned Burmese military arts, training alongside other young Burmese elite. At age 15, Naret, became crown prince of Pitsanulok, and his name was changed to Naresuan. In 1590, his father died and he became a king, at the age of about 35. The elephant battle took place in 1593 and happened while Naresuan was defending Ayutthaya from an attack ordered by Thammarachat’s successor, Nanda Bayin. The Wikipedia entry for “Naresuan” (2/9/2004) says “King Naresuan is known in Thailand for his 1593 elephant duel with Crown Prince Mingyi Swa. However, most other accounts of the era mention an elephant battle but not a formal duel.” Mingyi Swa was the grandson of King Bayinnaung, who by 1593 had already died. This should give you enough background to decode the song.

Check out a second song about Naresuan’s legendary elephant duel: องค์ดำ Ong Dam

ดาบน้ำพี้ต้องตีหมื่นค้อน โดนไฟร้อนสุมเผาพันครั้ง
The nam-pee (water spirit) sword must be hammered 10,000 times [?], must be fired a thousand times*
ราดน้ำเย็นร้อยรวมพลัง เติมความขลังเสกคาถาเวทมนต์ เพี้ยง !
Pour water 100 [times] gathering strength. Add some magic spells! Presto!

* ฟันลงไปทีเดียว… ถึงขาดสะพายแล่ง
Slash down perfectly … a “quiver cut” [a slash from the shoulder or neck diagonally down the front of the chest]**
ฟันลงไปด้วยแรงกู้ชาติ
Slash down with the strength of saving the country
ฟันลงไปด้วยความกล้าหาญ และองอาจ
Slash down with bravery and valiantly
เอกราชคืนจากยุทธหัตถี
Independence is returned [to us] from the battle

เกิดเป็นคนได้โดนเยี่ยงดาบ ถูกแช่งสาปกดขี่ปี้ป่น
Born as a person who was hit [hammered and put in the fire] like [in making] a sword, cursed and oppressed
ย่อมกล้าแกร่งกลายเป็นจอมพล เป็นจอมพลจักรพรรดิเกรียงไกร
This eventually makes him brave, become a field marshall and a mighty emperor

(*)

มุ่งกู้อโยธยา ศรีรามเทพนคร เรียนรู้เขาไปก่อน เราอ่อนแอไม่ผลีผลาม
Aims to save Ayutthaya Sri Ram Taep Nakhon. Learns about them [the enemy] first. We are weakened/vulnerable [and so] not
overly hasty

มุ่งกู้อโยธยา ศรีรามเทพนคร หงสาถูกสั่งสอน ด้วยพระกรพระองค์ดำ
Aims to save Ayutthaya Sri Ram Taep Nakhon. Hongsa was taught by the royal arm of Pra Dam
พระนเรศวร… พระองค์ดำ… พระนเรศวร… พระนเรศวรมหาราช… มหาราชา!
Pra Naresuan . . . Pra Dam … Pra Naresuan . . . .Pra Nareuan, the Great King . . . The Great King!

“ปวงเทพเป็นพยาน พระเจ้าหงสาประพฤติพาลคิดทำร้ายเรา
As the gods are our witnesses, King Hongsa has behaved as a bully trying to assault us
สืบแต่วันนี้ไป อโยธยากับหงสา มิได้เป็นปฐพีเดียวกัน
From today on, check it out: Ayutthaya and Hongsa aren’t the same land
ขาดกันแต่บัดนี้… ชั่วกัลปาวสาน!!!”
As of now they are separated . . . and for all time!!! [Ayutthaya is independent of Hongsa, they are no longer the same country]

ไม่เคยกลัวเป็นตัวจำนำ หมั่นเคี่ยวกล่ำฝึกศาสตราวุธ
I was never afraid being a pledge/hostage. [I was just] simmering and training hard in using weapons
หกพรรษาเพียงพอพิสูจน์ เชี่ยวชาญยุทธพิชัยสงคราม
Six years is enough to prove [oneself] expert in how to win a war***
เสือคืนถ้ำ คิดชำระแค้น ปลดปล่อยแดนให้พ้นการจองจำ
The tiger returns to the cave, thinking continually of revenge.
มังสามเกียดหรือจะสู้องค์ดำ ในสงครามยุทธหัตถี
Minga Swa, so you’ll be able to match Ong Dam in an elephant duel?
มังสามเกียดหรือจะสู้องค์ดำ ในสงคราม…..ยุทธหัตถี
Minga Swa, so you you’ll be able to match Ong Dam in war … riding on the back of an elephant?

(*)(*)(*)

ฟันลงไปทีเดียว… ถึงขาดสะพายแล่ง
Slash down perfectly … a “quiver cut” [a slash from the shoulder or neck diagonally down the front of the chest]*
ฟันลงไปด้วยแรงกู้ชาติ
Slash down with the strength of saving the country
ฟันลงไปด้วยความกล้าหาญ และองอาจ
Slash down with bravery and valiantly
เอกราชคืน สู่พระนเรศวร…..มหาราชา
Independence returns to Pra Naresuan … the Great King!

* น้ำพี้ (nam pee) word for word means “water spirit” but is a kind of metal (iron) commonly used to make swords in those days. Not only are they hard and strong, but they were believed to have magic power to help the owners.
**It’s called a “quiver slash” because the slash is diagonal, like one wears a quiver (for bullets or arrows) diagonally.
***”พิชัยสงคราม” is the title of a book about how to win wars. The words พิชัย = win and สงคราม = war.

ตำนานวีรชน Dtamnan Weerachon (Legend of the Heros)

Adjustment (both lyrics and melody) by ยืนยง โอภากุล Yuenyong Opakul (aka แอ๊ด คาราบาว Add Carabao) of the song สายทางนักรบประชา by สมคิด สิงสง Somkit Singsong (both lyrics and melody)
Album: ข้าวสีทอง: รำลึก 20 ปี 6 ตุลา Golden Ears of Rice: Commemorating the 20th Anniversary of October 6 [1976] (1996)

This song is based on สายทางสายทางนักรบประชา (“The Path of the People’s Warriors”) by สมคิด สิงสง Somkit Singsong (who also wrote คนกับควาย Kon Gap Kwai (Person With Buffalo, famous as a Nga Caravan song). Add Carabao has adjusted the words and tune of the that song to make this one. (Below I include a video and translation of สายทางนักรบประชา for comparison). An intro to the song is played extremely slow and drawn out and no doubt serves as a moment of silence for those who killed in the Thammasat University Massacre of October 6, 1976. I do not recognize the tune although it begins like Amazing Grace.

Carabao and Add Carabao albums tend to have a ความในใจ kwannaijai (“what is in the heart”) explaining the idea for the album. The kwannaijai for this album says:

“The struggle of our citizen brothers and sisters in past times is a great lesson. Taking old work and changing it so that it fits with the current situation is likely to make the creators of it feel lost, and so I apologize here. This cassette tape [album] is trying to raise money for the “October 6” fund on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary [of the Thammasat University Massacre of Octover 6, 1976]. The person modifying [the song] has talked with old friends at a certain level and so has put their hand to making a song that continues to have even more strength and value for Thai society in the current times. If [I] have taken the substance of [the original song] and updated it, at a future opportunity I will try again.”

ป่า ลำเนาทิวเขาเสียดฟ้า
Forest, mountain ranges piercing the sky
สาย ธาราพาฉันกั้นกลาง
A stream takes me between them*
อุปสรรคขวากหนามตามทาง
Obstacles and thorns along the way
มิอาจขัดขวางเราได้
may not hinder us.
ก้าวไปเพื่อมวลประชา
Keep going for the masses/citizens

เกียรติ ประวัติจารึกชื่อไว้
In honor, history has written down the names (and stored them away)
แม้ สิ้นกายผู้คนบ่นหา
Even when the bodies are dead, people still talk about them
แด่ แผ่นดินบิดรมารดา
To the land of father and mother,
มอบความรักบูชา
[they] give love and worship [and]
ศรัทธาเหนือยิ่งสิ่งใด
faith above anything else

ธง ชาติไทยนั้นยังโบกโบย
The Thai flag still flies
เราได้มาโดย
We came [this far] by/with it
ลูกไทยที่กล้าหาญ
Sons of Thailand who were brave
อุทิศชีวิตเลือดเนื้อและดวงวิญญาณ
Devoted their life, flesh, and blood, and souls
แผ่นดินไม่สิ้นสายธาร
The land will never lack the stream,*
ตำนานวีรชน
the legend of the heroes.

(Whole thing 2X)

*The stream (สายธารา) in both songs seems to be a metaphor for a flow of fighters (and fallen heros) for democracy.

สายทางนักรบประชา (“The Path of the People’s Warriors”) words and melody by สมคิด สิงสง (Somkit Singsong)

ป่าลำเนาทิวเขาเสียดฟ้า สายธาราผาชันกั้นกาง
Forest and mountain ranges piercing the sky. The stream divides the cliffs*
อุปสรรคขวากหนามตามทาง ไม่อาจขัดขวางเราได้ สายทางนักรบประชา
Obstacles and thorns along the way may not hinder us: the path of the people’s fighters
เกียรติประวัติจารึกแต่หลัง สูงส่งดังตำนานผ่านมา
The highly documented honor of those heros, magnificent like legends of the past.
เอกราชจักสมอุรา มีแต่ปักใจฟันฝ่า ฟ้าดินต้องยอมจำนน
Independence will be achieved. If only we have strong determination, heaven and earth must surrender
ชูสงครามประชา ช่วงชิงชัยมา ไว้เป็นอนุสรณ์
The victory we snatch will be praised as a memorial
ปลดปล่อยประเทศ บ้านเกิดเมืองนอน คืนสู่ถิ่นฐานมารดร สร้างไทยเจริญรุ่งเรือง
Liberate the country, the land of our birth, return to the motherland, create a prosperous Thailand.**

*The stream (สายธารา) in both songs seems to be a metaphor for a flow of fighters (and fallen heros) for democracy.

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

สันติผี Santi Pee (Ghost of Peace)

Album: รัฐฉานตำนานที่โลกลืม (The Legendary Shan State that the World has Forgotten) (2007)

The link is to the whole album. This song starts at minute 14:21.

Note: It seems this song is told from the perspective of the Tai people in Shan State, Myanmar. “Shan” is the Burmese name for the Tai people. According to the Wikipedia entry for “Shan State,” (as of 1/29/24), “The Shan state, with many ethnic groups, is home to several armed ethnic armies. While the military government has signed ceasefire agreements with most groups, vast areas of the state, especially those east of the Salween River, remain outside the central government’s control, and in recent years have come under heavy ethnic-Han Chinese economic and political influence. Other areas are under the control of military groups such as the Shan State Army.”

สันติภาพคือเป้าหมายอันสูงสุด ฉันจะอยู่กับคุณอย่างสันติ
Peace is the highest aim. I will live with you peacefully
แต่อย่ามาบังคับให้วางปืน เพราะมันคือสัญลักษณ์ความเป็นทาส
But don’t come forcing me to put down my guns. That would be a sign of slavery
เพียงแค่คุณให้เคารพฉัน ฉันจะพร้อมข่อมหัวคารวะตอบ
If you just respect me, I am ready to, in return, bow/nod my head in respect
แต่ถ้าคุณยิงมา เราก็ยิ่งไป สันติภาพมันจะเกิดได้อย่างไร
But if you shoot at me, I will shoot back. [And] how will any peace come about?

สงครามนำมา ซึ่งความทุกข์ เบื่อ
War brings suffering. I’m sick of it.
แต่ฉันมิอาจละทิงหน้าที
But I’m unlikely to abandon my duty.
สงครามนำมา ซึ่งความตาย
War brings death
ความตายคือสุขเดียวที่ชีวิตฉันมี
Death is the only happiness my life has
ผืนแผ่นดินถิ่นฐาน เป็นบ้านช่อง

The land [I] live is a channel [people come through]
มีพี่น้องต่างคนต่างเผ่าพันธุ์
It has different brothers and sisters, different races/ethnicities
ความแตกแยกมาจากใจที่แก่งแย่ง
Divisions come from competing hearts
ความทุกข์โศกัมาจากไฟแห่งสงคราม
Sorrow comes from the fire of war
แค่คุณให้เคารพฉัน ฉันจะพร้อมข่อมหัวคารวะตอบ
But if you respect me, I am ready to, in return, bow/nod my head in respect
แต่ถ้าคุณยิงมา เราก็ยิ่งไป สันติภาพมันจะเกิดได้อย่างไร
But if you shoot at me, I will shoot back. [And] how will any peace come about?

สงครามนำมา ซึ่งความทุกข์ เบื่อ
War brings suffering. I’m sick of it.
แต่ฉันมิอาจละทิงหน้าที
But I’m unlikely to abandon my duty.
สงครามนำมา ซึ่งความตาย
War brings death
ความตายคือสุขเดียวที่ชีวิตฉันมี
Death is the only happiness my life has

[La la la la la la la . . . etc.]

โลกนี้มีจริงหรือสันติภาพ
Does this world actually have [the condition of] peace?
(สันติผี)
([A] ghost of peace)
ฉันว่าสันติภาพ สันติภาพก็เหมือนกับผีหลอก
I think peace, peace is like a trickster ghost [a certain type of Thai ghost]
(สันติผี)
([A] ghost of peace)
มวนมนุษย์คิดไป ว่าโลกนี้มีผี
Masses of humanity think this world has ghosts
(สันติผี)
([A] ghost of peace)
เติบจนโตป่านนี้
[As I] grew up, became an adult, even until today
ยังไม่เคยเห็น
I’ve still never seen [it]

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

ผ่านพบที่ผูกพัน Paan Pop Tee Pook Pan (The Encounter that is a Lasting Connection) In SINGABLE ENGLISH!!

By: ยืนยง โอภากุล Yeunyong Opakul
Album: คนกับเม้าส์ Kon Gap Mouth (Person with Harmonica) (2008)

Singable English translation by Ann Norman; my direct translation is HERE.

From a video where Add Carabao introduces the song (my own unchecked translation): “In this life of ours, we are born alone and die alone. Maybe there are some times—some times or some people who give rise to a feeling of awe or being impressed, never to be forgotten. You might take it and turn it into lyrics or poems or compose a song. Or some people will go create movie or a TV drama. I believe all of us have something like this that comes our way. It’s not necessary to tell anyone. Keep it to yourself in your heart, know of it yourself, and you’ll be happy just you yourself. If you do this, you’ll feel good. But if you tell someone, nobody will criticize.”

Voice clip for demonstration purposes only:

Try to sing along with the Thai video:

If your life, more and more, seems like drama on TV
Shoulder love, struggle on. Cross sky, mountain, and sea.
Most of life disappoints, you’re failing like before. But sometimes, or just once, life’s everything and more
Then it’s enough. Life’s short. Things come, and quickly go.
But they may plow a row left deeply in the brain.
When you experience something and bond so quickly it’s insane
Time goes by, you dream away, never forget. . . . the connection you made

Mountain glaciers melt and flow down to sea. Life’s like that: you’re born, and soon you cease to be.
But love remains, as a legend, calling out a song. A tune of good times and the bad, of connections that are strong
And it’s enough. Life’s short. Things come, and quickly go.
But they may plow a row left deeply in the brain.
When you experience something and bond so quickly it’s insane
Time goes by, you dream away, never forget. . . . those connections you made

While we struggle on, can’t seem to get above– in the place we walk, it’s still good that we have love
If happiness has suffering that gets into our way. . . . It could be there we find . . . connections that stay.

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.

คนกับควาย Kon Gap Kwai (Person With Buffalo)

Lyrics by สมคิด สิงสง Somkit Singsong
Tune is “Master of War” by Bob Dylan
Sung by หงา คาราวาน Nga Caravan

Note: This is not a Carabao song, but it is an influential “Song for Life,” both for the genre and for Carabao in particular. So it is posted for reference. According to the Thai Wikipedia entry for this song, it was first recorded in 1975 and after the Thammasat University massacre of students the next year (October 6, 1976), the master tapes were destroyed for the safety of the owner. The song was then remastered from the original record in 1995. The English-language entry for “Caravan (Thai band)” claims that there is a line in the song “Let’s carry our plows and guns to the fields.” I don’t see “guns” in this official version of the song. Maybe it was there in a previous version.

Slowly:

คนก็คนทำนาประสาคน
People with people work the [rice] fields in the manner of people
คนกับควายทำนาประสาควาย
People with buffalo work the [rice] fields in the manner of buffalos
คนกับควายความหมายมันลึกล้ำ
The meaning of “People with Buffalos” is deep
ลึกล้ำทำนามาเนิ่นนาน
Deep [in that] they have been working the fields since days of old
แข็งขันการงานมาเนิ่นนาน
Diligently working for so long now
สำราญเรื่อยมาพอได้สุขใจ
Always trying to enjoy the time so they are happy

Fast:

คนก็คนทำนาประสาคน
People with people work the fields in the manner of people
คนกับควายทำนาประสาควาย
People with buffalos work the fields in the manner of buffalos
คนกับควายความหมายมันลึกล้ำ
The meaning of “People with Buffalos” is deep
ลึกล้ำทำนามาเนิ่นนาน
Deep [in that] they have been working the fields since days of old
แข็งขันการงานมาเนิ่นนาน
Diligently working for so long now
สำราญเรื่อยมาพอสุขใจ
Always trying to enjoy the time so they are happy

ไปเถิดไปพวกเราไปเถิดไป
Go! Let’s all go!
ไปเถิดไปแบกไถไปทำนา
Go! Go shoulder the plow and go work the fields!
ยากจนหม่นหมองมานานนัก
It difficult to the point that we’ve been sad/gloomy for such a long time
นานนักน้ำตามันตกใน
For so long crying on the inside
ยากแค้นลำเค็ญในหัวใจ
Suffering hardship in [the] heart
ร้อนรุ่มเพียงใดไม่หวั่นเกรง
However impatient, not afraid [of anyone]

เป็นบทเพลงเสียงเพลง
It’s a song
แห่งความตาย
of death
ความเป็นคนสลายลงไปพลัน
Humanity is destroyed suddenly
กฎุมภีกินแรงแบ่งชนชั้น
The rule eats up [our] strength and divides the classes.
ชนชั้นชาวนาจึงต่ำลง
And so the farming class drops further [in their standard of living]
เหยียดหยามชาวนาว่าป่าดง
[They] trample the farmers, saying [it’s] jungle
สำคัญมั่นคงคือความตาย
What’s important and constant is death

Slowly:

กฎุมภีกินแรงแบ่งชนชั้น
The rule eats up [our] strength and divides the classes.
ชนชั้นชาวนาจึงต่ำลง
And so the farming class drops further [in their standard of living]
เหยียดหยามชาวนาว่าป่าดง
[They] trample the farmers, saying [it’s] jungle
สำคัญมั่นคงคือความตาย
What’s important and constant is death

Fast:

ไปเถิดไปพวกเราไปเถิดไป
Go! Let’s all go!
ไปเถิดไปแบกไถไปทำนา
Go! Go shoulder the plow and go work the fields!
ยากจนหม่นหมองมานานนัก
It’s difficult to the point that we’ve been sad/gloomy for such a long time
นานนักน้ำตามันตกใน
For so long crying on the inside
ยากแค้นลำเค็ญในหัวใจ
Suffering hardship in the heart
ร้อนรุ่มเพียงใดไม่หวั่นเกรง
However impatient, not afraid [of anyone]

เป็นบทเพลงเสียงเพลง
It’s a song
แห่งความตาย
of death
ความเป็นคนสลายลงไปพลัน
Humanity is destroyed suddenly
กฎุมภีกินแรงแบ่งชนชั้น
The rule eats the strength and divides the classes
ชนชั้นชาวนาจึงต่ำลง
And so the class of farmers drops further [in its standard of living]
เหยียดหยามชาวนาว่าป่าดง
[They] trample the farmers, saying [it’s] jungle
สำคัญมั่นคงคือความตาย
What’s important and constant is death

Dangerous waters and the ship of state: A metaphor across 3 songs

Three songs, all written by Yuenyong Opakul, aka Add Carabao, at three different moments of high political tension, develop a metaphor of dangerous waters and a ship, with the dangerous waters probably representing “waves” of political protest and the ship being the ship of state. Don’t let my suggestion mix you up if you see something else in the songs. And be aware that Carabao songs routinely mix metaphors within a song.

พายุ Payu (Storm) came out on the album ตะวันตกดิน Dtawan Dtok Din (2006). I don’t know the exact day the song “Storm” was written but it seems to have the same message, and is on the same album, as เว้นวรรค Wen-Wak (Some Space), a song which came out March 12, 2006 is widely interpreted as asking Prime Minister Taksin Shinawatra to step down. According to Wikipedia, on September 19, 2006, “the Royal Thai Army staged a coup d’etat against the elected caretaker government of Prime Minister Taksin Shinawatra. Planning for the coup started about February 2006. . . . Rumors of unrest in the armed forces and possible takeover plots swirled for months leading to the event.”

นาวารัฐบุรุษ Nawa Rataburut (Navy Statesman) came out just one day after General Prayut Chan-ocha’s 2014 coup* and seems to offer conditional support to Prayut, like “OK, you’re here. Let’s see what you can do.” Prayut would stay on as dictator (self-appointed Prime Minister), postponing general elections until March 24, 2019; and under the rigged system, he also “won” the election for Prime Minister. Prayut was finally voted out for real and left office in 2023, nine years after he overthrew the elected government.

น้ำพึ่งเรือเสือพึ่งป่า Nam Peung Reua Seua Peung Bpa (Waters Depend on the Boat; The Tiger Depends on the Forest) is an extremely coded song that came out on Facebook September 12, 2020 during mass protests of students and young people calling for reform of the monarchy. For instance, the presentation of the “10 Demands” by Panusaya (Rung) Sithijirawattanakul had taken place a month earlier on August 10, 2020. By October she would be in jail. In the notes under the song, P’Add says [in Thai] the song was inspired by “Dr. Prawet Wasi’s article about the old and the new generation facing each other” and basically diverse groups trying to work things out in the current political crisis. If it is a statement of support for the students, it pales in comparison to much stronger statements by younger artists (See Music of Thai Freedom website for many examples).

The three songs appeared on Add Carabao solo albums and/or were first posted straight to Facebook and YouTube by Add Carabao himself. Other members of Carabao may or may not hold similar views.

*People were amazed at the speed at which the song นาวารัฐบุรุษ Nawa Rataburut (Navy Statesman) came out relative to the timing of the coup. A partial explanation is that the melody (and probably the entire track minus the vocals) is borrowed directly from a lesser known song ไม่อยากทน Mai Yaak Ton (I Don’t Want to Endure it) released on the previous Add Carabao solo album.  As far as I know, this is the only time Add Carabao has totally recycled one of his own songs.

นาวารัฐบุรุษ Nawa Rataburut (Navy Statesman)

by ยืนยง โอภากุล Yuenyong Opakul, aka แอ๊ด คาราบาว Aed Carabao
Album: เห็นมั้ยบัวลอย Hen Mai Bua Loy (Do You See This, Bua Loy?) (2014)

Note: This song came out (based on my memory) one day after General Prayut Chan-ocha’s 2014 coup. After promising to “reform democracy” and return the country to the people in better shape than he found it, he would stay on as dictator, postponing general elections until March 24, 2019; and under the rigged system, he also “won” the election for Prime Minister. He was finally voted out for real and left office in 2023, nine years after he overthrew the elected government. At the time of the coup, people expected a much quicker transition back to democracy. The melody is recycled from a lesser-known song on the previous album: ไม่อยากทน Mai Yaak Ton (I Don’t Want to Endure it). The meaning of the song can be deduced through a comparison with the song พายุ Payu (Storm), which sets out the metaphor that is used again in this song.

มันเป็นการลงทุน ที่ต้องใช้ทั้งเลือดและเนื้อ
It’s an investment of both body and blood.
เกียรติของนักรบชายชาติทหาร
The honor of national soldiers
ทั้งๆที่พวกคุณ เริ่มต้นจากผู้คอยประสาน
Even though those people originate from people who previously coordinated [with civilians?]
เห็นความสำคัญในประชาธิปไตย
[and] saw the importance in democracy

แต่แล้วการเวลา ได้ชักพาให้เรือกางใบ
But with the passage of time, they are persuaded to rig a boat
นาวาทหารไทยต้องออกทะเล
The captain of the Thai soldiers goes out on the sea
เรือรบทหารไทย คงไม่ใช่แค่เรือตังเก
A battleship of Thai soldiers, it’s probably not a fishing boat
เหล่าทหารไทย ยิ่งไม่ใช่ชาวเล
And those Thai soldiers are not fisherman

มีประชาธิปไตย แต่เนื้อในอะไรก็ไม่รู้
[We] have democracy, but the meat of it is in what? I don’t know.
ที่เห็นและเป็นอยุ่ ดูขี้เหล๊ขีเหล่
What I see and still exists is ugliness
ปฏิรูปการเมือง เป็นวลีที่ฟังดูเท่
“Reform politics” is a phrase that sounds and looks cool/nice
การเมืองเจ้าเล่ห์ อย่าไปไว้ใจใคร
Crafty politics. Don’t go trusting anyone

มีแต่ประชาชน ถ้าอยากอยู่กับประชาธิปไตย
There are only people. If you want to live with democracy
ต้องปลูกฝังกันใหม่ระดับวัฒนธรรม
You must cultivate it again at the level of culture
ตื่นเถิดประชาชน ที่เป็นอยู่มันแค่ขำๆ
Wake up people. The people we have just laugh
ประชาธิปไตย ใช่เช้าค่ำเย็นค่ำ
Democracy, not in the morning or evening
เมื่อมีการลงทุน ที่ท้าทายสายตาประชาชาติ
When there are investments that defy the eyes of the nation.
นี่คือโอกาส แห้่งรัฐบุรุษ
This is the opportunity for the statesman
เรือรบหรือตังเก หนนี้เห็นทีต้องพิสูจ
Whether it’s a battleship or a fishing boat, right now, I see it must prove [itself]
จุดเปลี่ยนประเทศไทย อยู๋ที่ท่านผู้นำ
The changing point for Thailand, it’s up to YOU, leader.

จุดเปลี่ยนประเทศไทย อยู่ที่ท่านกำลังจะทำ
The changing point for Thailand, it’s up to [whatever] YOU are about to do
จุดเปลี่ยนประเทศไทยอยุ๋ที่ทท่านผู้นำ
The changing point for Thailand, it’s up to YOU, leader.

จุดเปลี่ยนประเทศไทย อยู่ที่ท่านกำลังกระทำ
The changing point for Thailand, it’s up to [whatever] YOU are about to do
ให้โลกได้จดจำ รัฐบุรุษ
Let the world remember the statesman

สามช่าหาเพื่อน Sam Cha Ha Puean (Sam Cha Looks for Friends)

Album: 40 ปี ฅนคาราบาว (See Sip Bee Kon Carabao) [40 Years of Ye ‘Olde Carabao People]
Lyrics: ยืนยง โอภากุล Yuenyong Opakul, aka Add Carabao
Composer, Arranger: คาราบาว the band Caraba
o

Note: The Thai musical style สามช่า “sam cha,” literally translates as “three ‘cha’s” as in “cha-cha-cha,” a reference to the Thai musical style’s Latin influence. Not all Carabao songs are sam cha, but sam cha is the sound most associated with Carabao and Add Carabao is considered “King of Sam Cha.” This song, and the music video, is clearly a tribute to “Beat it,” by Michael Jackson, the King of Pop.

ดวงตาก็ไม่มืดมิด ชีวิตก็ไม่มืดบอด
If the eyes are not cloudy, life is not blind
ผ่านร้อนหนาวมาตลอด เพราะรวยเพื่อนรวยมิตรสหาย
Always going through hot and cold [together], because [we’re] rich in friends, rich in comrades
ใครคิดยังไงก็ช่าง แต่เพื่อนฉันนั้นสำคัญหลาย
To hell with whatever people think, those friends of mine are important in many [ways]
วงคาราบาวหัวควาย ถ้าขาดเพื่อนคงไม่มีวันนี้
The Carabao band, the buffalo head, without friends we wouldn’t have [gotten to where we are] today.
สามช่าหาเพื่อน ไม่หาเรื่อง หาแต่มิตรไมตรี
Sam cha looks for friends, it doesn’t look for trouble. It only looks for friendship.

โลกนี้มีแต่วุ่นวาย แบ่งฝั่งรักฝ่ายป้ายสี
This world has only turbulence, divided between the shores of loving and maligning [each other]
อเมริกาพญาอินทรี ลูกพี่ประชาธิปไตย
America, the Bald Eagle, the older cousin in democracy
อึกอักก็ก่อจลาจล เสรีชนทำตามอำเภอใจ
[If they are] upset, [they] start a riot. The are free people doing any [random] thing they please
เสรีแต่ไร้วินัย อยากให้คนไทยนั้นไตร่ตรองให้ดี
Free but lacking discipline. I want Thai people to consider carefully.

*สามช่าหาเพื่อน ไม่หาเรื่อง หาแต่มิตรไมตรี
Sam cha looks for friends, it doesn’t look for trouble. It only looks for friendship
เราคือเพื่อนพ้องน้องพี่ มีดนตรีสามช่าในหัวใจ
We are a group of friends, brothers and sisters, having sam cha music in our hearts!

**ดนตรีมีหลายลีลา ถ้าชะชะช่า เต้นกันกระจาย
Music has many styles. If “cha-cha-cha,” there is dancing all around.
สามช่าเป็นของคนไทย แตกดอกออกใบมาจากลาติน
Sam cha is a Thai thing which breaks off from Latin.
เลียนแบบฝรั่งมังค่า วงซานตาน่าที่เคยได้ยิน
Imitating Farang [foreigners], the band Santana, which we’ve already heard.
เอามาปรุงจนถูกปากถูกลิ้น ถูกหูคนไทยเต้นกระจายส่ายกระเจิง
Taken and mixed so it’s good for the mouth and the tongue. It pleases the ear of Thais so they are dancing and swaying all around.

(ซ้ำ ** )

ระบอบประชาธิปไตย ใช้ได้แต่ต้องใช้เป็น
The system of democracy, we can use, but it must be used as is possible
เมืองจีนที่โลกได้เห็น ก้าวล้ำ ก้าวนำ ก้าวหน้า
China, which the world has seen make breakthroughs, take the lead, advance foreword
ฟังสามช่าคาราบาว ไม่ได้เอาฝรั่งทั้งดุ้นมา
Listen to sam cha. We didn’t take every single foreigner along.*
วิเคราะห์แยกแยะพัฒนา รอบนี้สามช่า รอบหน้าสามัคคี
Critically analyze, differentiate, develop. This time around sam cha. Next time, samakee [unity].

(ซ้ำ *)

สามช่าหาเพื่อน ไม่หาเรื่อง หาแต่มิตรไมตรี
Sam cha looks for friends. It doesn’t look for trouble. It only looks for friendship
เราคือเพื่อนพ้องน้องพี่ มีดนตรีสามช่าคาราบาว
We are a group a friends, brothers and sisters, having Carabao sam cha music!

*We didn’t take every stick of foreigner along [out of a stack of sticks]. And “stick” can mean “penis” so maybe also, “we didn’t take every dickhead foreigner along.”? The point as I understand it Carabao borrowed selectively from foreigners in developing its sam cha style.

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.)

ไม่อยากทน Mai Yaak Ton (I Don’t Want to Endure it)

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

Note: I have a theory that this song was inspired by Danny Witten’s song “I Don’t Want to Talk About It” from 1971, because Add Carabao was doing informal covers of that song (singing it with his friends) around the same time as this song came out. Although, I was able to find lyrics to read for this song, I was unable to cut and paste them. So, the Thai lyrics are missing for this song. There is only my English translation.

I don’t want to talk about it anymore. We’ve each walked this far together
To have us turn around and go back, is to be wasting precious time. That’s it, Darling. Don’t be mentioning it
Go clap with one hand; it probably won’t be loud [or make noise].*
Then [my] heart and [your] heart, whatever, were exactly together.
But today that’s changed. Only a small mistake, and [we’re] arguing
Love like that, I don’t want to endure it.

Us two have egos with each other, and all that. You’re human just the same [as me or anybody]. I’m also human.
When you’re arguing with a mirror, is there anyone who will win even once?
A life like that I don’t want to endure.

I don’t want to endure it. (This is crazy!)

Us two have egos with each other, and all that. You’re human just the same [as me or anybody]. I’m also human.
When you’re arguing with a mirror, is there anyone who will win even once?
A life like that I don’t want to endure.
A life like that I don’t want to endure. A life like that, I don’t want to endure.
A life like that, I don’t want to endure.

*From the Thai saying, ตบมือข้างเดียวไม่ดัง “Clapping with one hand isn’t loud,” where “clapping with one hand” is to be single.

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.

ถึงเวลา Teung Wayla (It’s Time)

Lyrics by แอ๊ด คาราบาว Add Carabao
Melody is “Four Strong Winds” by Ian Tyson
From the album: วันวานไม่มีเขาฯ Wan Waan Mai Me Kow (If It Weren’t for Her …)

According to a Facebook post, Warner Music Thailand got permission to do a cover of “Four Strong Winds” from the copyright administrator for Ian Tyson for a royalty fee of only 3,000 baht (85 dollars). And Add Carabao promised that 10 percent of the proceeds from the album วันวานไม่มีเขาฯ (Wan Waan Mai Me Kow) would go to protecting the environment.

โลกใบนี้นั้นมีวิญญาณ
This world, it has a soul
ในสายธารเกี่ยวโยงยิ่งใหญ่
In a great connected stream
ประกอบกันเป็น ดินน้ำลมไฟให้ชีวิต
Combined are land, water, air, fire contributing to life

นับล้านๆ ปีที่กำเนิด
Counting millions of years of existence
ผ่านยุคสมัยไดโนเสาร์ Jurassic
Passing the age of Jurassic dinosaurs
จนถึงยุคสิ่งมีชีวิตร่างคล้ายลิงคือคน
Until arriving at the age where the thing that has life resembles monkeys. It’s people.

มันถึงเวลาเยียวยาหรือยัง
Is it [finally] time for some remedial treatment, or not yet?
หากไม่หยุดยั้งไม่นานก็สาย
If we don’t halt this, it won’t be long until it is too late
โลกใบนี้จะไม่เหลืออะไร
This world will have nothing left
กระทั่งคน
Up to and including people

หยุดเข่นฆ่าหยุดโค่นป่าหยุดทุกอย่าง
It’s an age of killing, an age of cutting down the forest, an era of everything
ที่ทำให้โลกเปราะบางจนเหลือทน
that makes the world fragile till it can’t tolerate any more
ถึงเวลาร่วมมือกันทุกคน เพื่อเผ่าชน
It’s time for every person to join hands for the human race [for the tribe of people].

เรามีสมองอันชาญฉลาด
We have brains that are clever
หรือธรรมชาติให้มามากล้น
Hasn’t nature given us in overflowing amounts
ทั้งด้านที่ดีด้านร้ายปะปน จนเห็นชัด
both good and bad mixed together, until it’s clear for us to see?

เมื่อคนมีขวานก็ไปตัดไม้
When people have an axes, they go cut down trees
เมื่อคนมีปืนก็ไปล่าสัตว์
When people have a gun, they go hunt animals
โลกวันนี้พบภัยสารพัด
This world faces all variety of dangers
ก็เพราะน้ำมือคน
At the hands of people.

มันถึงเวลาเยียวยาหรือยัง
Is it [finally] time for some remedial treatment, or not yet?
หากไม่หยุดยั้งไม่นานก็สาย
If we don’t halt this, in not too long it will be too late
โลกใบนี้จะไม่เหลืออะไร
This world will have nothing left
กระทั่งคน
Up to and including people

หยุดเข่นฆ่าหยุดโค่นป่าหยุดทุกอย่าง
It’s an age of killing, an age of cutting down the forest, an era of every sort of thing
ที่ทำให้โลกเปราะบางจนเหลือทน
that makes the world fragile till it can’t endure anymore
ถึงเวลาร่วมมือกันทุกคน เพื่อเผ่าชน
It’s time for every person to join hands for the human race [for the tribe of people].

เมื่อคนมีขวานก็ไปตัดไม้
When people have an axes, they go cut down trees
เมื่อคนมีปืนก็ไปล่าสัตว์
When people have a gun, they go hunt animals
โลกวันนี้พบภัยธรรมชาติ
The world today faces natural disasters
ก็เพราะน้ำมือคน
And it’s because of what people do

ถึงเวลาเยียวยาหรือยัง
Is it [finally] time for some remedial treatment, or not yet?
หากไม่หยุดยั้งไม่นานก็สาย
If we don’t halt this, in not too long it will be too late
โลกใบนี้จะไม่เหลืออะไร
This world will have nothing left
กระทั่งคน
Up to and including people

หยุดเข่นฆ่าหยุดโค่นป่าหยุดทุกอย่าง
It’s an age of killing, an age of cutting down the forest, an era of every sort of thing
ที่ทำให้โลกเปราะบางจนเหลือทน
that makes the world fragile till it can’t take any more
ถึงเวลาร่วมมือกันทุกคน เพื่อเผ่าชน
It’s time for every person to join hands for the human race [for the tribe of people].

ถึงเวลาร่วมมือกันทุกคน ทุกชาติชน
It’s time to join hands with every person, of every nation.

ภควัทคีตา Pukawatketa (Bhagavad Gita)

By ยืนยง โอภากุล Yuenyong Opakul, aka แอ๊ด คาราบาว Add Carabao
From the Album: โน พลอมแพลม No Problem (1990)

Note: The Bhagavad Gita is a key Hindu religious text. The set-up is that the great archer Arjuna comes to the battlefield to fight, and immediately starts to cry and at first refuses when he sees that the two sides are close relatives, the armies of two brothers. Krishna, who is an avatar of the god Vishnu, then sings the verses that contain the Hindu wisdom trying to convince him to do his duty and fight for justice. In the legend, Arjuna eventually does fight. I think this song focuses on Arjuna’s hard decision, with the pro and con arguments (from the story) going back and forth. For two other takes, by Yuenyong Opakul (Add Carabao), on the story of Arjuna from The Bhagavad Gita, see “The Arrow of Arjuna” and “The Tears of Arjuna.” The first seems to say that Arjuna/we should fight  (metaphorically speaking) against injustice “with our hearts/minds, not with a weapon.” The second seems to lament Arjuna’s decision to go to war.

อรชุน อรชุน อรชุน อรชุน
Arjuna, Arjuna, Arjuna, Arjuna

กฤษณะรายณ์ กฤษณะรายณ์ แสงแห่งเทวัญ
Krishna/Vishnu, Krishna/Vishnu, Light of the gods
อาตมันกาย กฤษณะรายณ์ชายผู้ชี้นำ
Atman body, Krishna/Vishnu, a man who is a leader

* รบเถิดอรชุน หากท่านตายในสนามรบ
Fighting gave birth to Arjuna, even if he dies on the battlefield
สวรรค์ยังรอท่านอยู่ ยังเปิดประตูรอผู้ปราชัย
Heaven yet waits for you; the door is still open waiting for the defeated
แม้หากว่าท่านชนะ ความเป็นใหญ่ในแผ่นดินนี้
Although if you succeed, greatness in this land
ทุกพงพื้นปฐพี รอให้ท่านเข้ามาครอบครอง
every bush of this land waits for you to come and rule

** โอ้ อรชุนไยไม่ยิงศร
Oh, Arjuna, why don’t you shoot your arrows?
ดูเจ้าอาวรณ์ เหนือความเป็นธรรม
It looks like have concerns above fairness/justice
จิตเจ้าโลเล ใจเจ้าเหลียวหลัง
Your heart is indecisive. Your heart looks behind
แรงเจ้าอ่อนล้า ตาเจ้ามืดมัว
Your strength is exhausted, your eyes become blurry [with tears]*
ทั่วปฐพีมีเพียงคมศร
The whole earth has only sharp arrows
อิทธิฤทธิ์รอนลดความรุนแรง
Supernatural influence reduces violence
แสงแห่งเทวัญ อาตมันกาย
The light of gods, the Atman body
กฤษณะรายณ์ ชายผู้ชี้นำ
Krishna/Vishnu, a man who is a leader

(*,**)

อรชุน อรชุน จิตเจ้าโลเล ใจเจ้าเหลียวหลัง
Arjuna, Arjuna, your mind hesitates, your heart looks back
แรงเจ้าอ่อนล้า ตาเจ้ามืดมัว
Your strength is exhausted, your eyes are blurry
กฤษณะรายณ์ แสงแห่งเทวัญ
Krishna/Vishnu, light of the gods
อาตมันกาย กฤษณะรายณ์
Ataman body, Kritsana/Vishnu
ชายรายณ์รบเถิดอรชุน
The man Vishnu fights giving birth to Arjuna

*Also see the song “Tears of Arjuna”

น้ำตาอรชุน Nam Dtaa Arachun (The Tears of Arjuna)

Music and lyrics by ยืนยง โอภากุล Yuenyong Opakul
Album: 40 ปี ฅนคาราบาว See Sip Bpee Kon Carabao (40 Years of Carabao People) [Ye Olde Carabao Band: 40 Years]

Note: This song engages with a Hindu text, the Bhagavad Gita. That legend begins with the great archer Arjuna coming to the battlefield to engage in battle, but Arjuna cries and initially refuses when he recognizes members of two feuding families lined up to do battle. Krishna, an avatar of the god Vishnu, then explains to him why he needs to fight nevertheless, and this song or poem forms the Bhagavad Gita. In the story, Arjuna is convinced to fight. But Add Carabao seems more interested in the dilemma set up by the story, and not with the “wisdom” from the gods that eventually convinces Arjuna to fight.

สงครามทำให้คนพลัดพรากจากกัน
War causes people to be parted from each other
สงครามทำทุกอย่างมลาย
War demolishes everything
ไม่เคยมีเรื่องบาดหมางทะเลาะกัน
There was never before an issue, feud, or quarrel
แต่ต้องมาห่ำหั่นจนตาย
But they have to come and cut [each other] to death

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.

อรชุนทำสงครามทุ่งกุรุเกษตร
Arjuna waged war in the fields of Kurukshetra
ระหว่างญาติปาณฑพ เการพ
Between relatives, the Pardavas and the Kauravas
บทเพลงภควันนั่นเป็นตอนทีเด็ด
Bhagwan’s song is a passage of great strategy
มหากาพย์ มหาภารตะ
The epic Mahabharata

สงครามของพี่น้องสองตระกูลอุบัติ
A war between two brother’s families
ที่ลงท้ายปาณฑพได้มีชัยชนะ
In the end the Pandavas were victorious
แต่ผู้คนล้มตายนั้นคือญาติสนิท
But the people who died were close relatives
ใครถูกใครผิดมันไม่มีความหมายใดๆ
Who is right and who is wrong has no meaning at all
ในสงคราม… สงคราม
In war … war

น้ำตาอรชุน มีต้นทุนเป็นนักแม่นธนู
The tears of Arjuna are the cost of being an archer
น้ำตาที่พรั่งพรู บอกให้รู้ว่านักฆ่าถอดใจ
Overflowing tears let everyone know that the killer is disheartened
พระกฤษณะสารถีพี่ชาย
Lord Krishna drives his brother
จึงร่ายเวทย์ภควัทคีตา
And so, the mystical Bhagavad Gita
สุดท้ายผลลัพธ์ออกมา
The results came out:
สงคราม ….. สงคราม
War … war

สงครามทำให้คนพลัดพรากจากกัน
War causes people to be parted from each other
สงครามทำทุกอย่างมลาย
War demolishes everything
ไม่เคยมีเรื่องบาดหมางทะเลาะกัน
There was never before an issue, feud, or quarrel
แต่ต้องมาห่ำหั่นจนตาย
But they have to come and cut [each other] to death

สงครามของพี่น้องสองตระกูลอุบัติ
A war between two brother’s families
ที่ลงท้ายปาณฑพได้มีชัยชนะ
In the end the Pandavas were victorious
แต่ผู้คนล้มตายนั้นคือญาติสนิท
But the people who died were close relatives
ใครถูกใครผิดมันไม่มีความหมายใดๆ
Who is right and who is wrong has no meaning at all
ในสงคราม… สงคราม
In war … war

น้ำตาอรชุน มีต้นทุนเป็นนักแม่นธนู
The tears of Arjuna are the cost of being an archer
น้ำตาที่พรั่งพรู บอกให้รู้ว่านักฆ่าถอดใจ
Overflowing tears let everyone know that the killer is disheartened
พระกฤษณะสารถีพี่ชาย
Lord Krishna drives his brother
จึงร่ายเวทย์ภควัทคีตา
And so, the mystical Bhagavad Gita
สุดท้ายผลลัพธ์ออกมา
The results came out:
สงคราม ….. สงคราม
War … war

สิบสี่ ตุลา
October 14*

*The popular uprising of October 14, 1973. The mass protests, of which young Yuenyong “Add” Opakul was a part (he wasn’t Add Carabao yet), initially succeeded in driving out the dictators at great cost in terms of lives lost (protesters shot and killed by the military. But three years later, dictatorship returned after a second massacre of protesters (October 6, 1976), at Thammasat University. We have to guess how October 14 may relate to the story in the Bhagavad Gita.

Humanism in the Add Carabao songs

Generated by AI using prompt “Graphic with Humanism symbol (The Happy Human) and the symbol of Thailand water buffalos”

I don’t know if Add Carabao directly identifies as a humanist. He does strongly identify as a Buddhist and accepts the label “Songs for Life” as the genre that he usually works in. [See a recent interview in which he mentions how Buddhism and “yonisomanasikara” [proper attention] in particular help him in songwriting.] But as an atheist and a humanist myself, I have noticed that Add Carabao’s works seems strongly humanist. To make that point, I give a definition of humanism below followed by excerpts from 32 songs that back up my observation that his work is humanist (has all the important humanist elements). I have only translated 300 of Add Carabao’s songs, so perhaps 10 percent of his work is strongly humanist in a way that feels universal.

Of course, many of the more Thailand-specific songs would also be humanist (for instance “นส. 3 ก.” or “NS3K Document”) but would be harder for a non-Thai to understand and so would not be used an example here.

So here is a definition of Humanism from The Humanist Magazine quoted prominently at the website of the American Humanist Association: “Humanism is a rational philosophy informed by science, inspired by art, and motivated by compassion. Affirming the dignity of each human being, it supports the maximization of individual liberty and opportunity consonant with social and planetary responsibility. It advocates the extension of participatory democracy and the expansion of the open society, standing for human rights and social justice. Free of supernaturalism, it recognizes human beings as a part of nature and holds that values-be they religious, ethical, social, or political-have their source in human experience and culture. Humanism thus derives the goals of life from human need and interest rather than from theological or ideological abstractions, and asserts that humanity must take responsibility for its own destiny.”

If we compare the humanism seen in Add Carabao songs to western humanism, the biggest difference might be the enthusiasm for moderation (the Middle Path).

Browse the translated lyrics below and draw your own conclusions. Before you start, check out the entire songs ความจริง Kwam-jing   “Truth” and คนล่าฝัน Kon La Fun “Dream Chaser” if you haven’t already. And perhaps read my review of the recent compilation album Poem (I have discussed humanism in those songs elsewhere and so don’t cover those important songs here). If you are skeptical that Add Carabao is “free of supernaturalism,” read the interview I have titled “Add Carabao clarifies his religious position.”

Below are 30 key songs lyrics excepted in English translation (a few of the songs, including the first one, were not actually written by Add Carabao, but he was always in control of which songs went on the official Carabao albums and, of course, on his own solo albums). Click on the hyperlinks for the song with full details. And remember the music carries meaning on its own, even apart from the lyrics.

ปลาใหญ่ ปลาน้อย Bplaa Yai Bplaa Noi Big Fish, Little Fish

“One animal has a body large and bold
Has great strength and is totally savage
Devouring the small animals, so they die and are gone
It is natural law that brings it about
Big fish eat little fish
Big animals eat little animals
It’s a law . . . Not [for] people

Look around at human society
Having hands that overflow with merit/virtue
People have moral principles that will lead them
The light of Dharmic truth guides us like a golden light

Be king and generous to each other, brothers and sisters
Compassionately support/maintain the world, brothers and sisters
It’s not like we’re [pieces of] dead wood; we’re friends

…Big fish are friends with little fish
Big animals are friends with little animals
It’s a law . . . create/build the laws together, people!

(1981)

มนต์เพลงคาราบาว Mon Pleang Carabao The Spell of Carabao Songs

“Come sing songs to soothe the heart and give [us] energy
to study diligently, to pursue learning
to at last be way out in open, not inactive
A rhythmic trance, being into the lyrics of the song

There is no competition in music
There are truth and dreams in music
There is music played in this world of freedom

There is music played to signify the lives of people.
The tune reflects real life
It is essential advice for real life
beautiful and meaningful. Don’t leave it behind
[and] forget [it] while dancing in the center of the floor”

(1981)

บัวลอย Bua Loy

Note: This song celebrates the sacrifice of an ordinary soldier, whose name Bua Loy means “Lotus Leaf.” This works for the song because a lotus grows up through the water and finally blossoms above the water. Bua Loy matured and “blossomed above the water” in his selfless final act. It is one of the best known Carabao songs. Below is my singable, rhyming translation.

“Bua Loy, this guy I know
He always limps, he’s got crossed eyes
He’s not that much to see
but his mind is high, like the Lotus Leaf
A friend when you need a friend
A cook when you need to eat
A doctor if you scream in pain
He’ll get you back on your feet

Bua Loy’s been handicapped
And so of course he escapes the draft
But still he volunteers
The man is brave and he endures
He works hard all the time
A humble, normal guy
Helps out every friend
He’s there through thick and thin

. . . One day the guns resound
Bua Loy is lying on the ground
Mumbles “Are y’all OK?”
The very last words Bua Loy will say
From that day ’til this day
In a farmhouse on a hill
Bua Loy is absent still
It’s listless there and grey

Spoken:

This world is all messed up
‘Cause some care just about their own needs
How many people in this world
Rise as high as this lotus leaf?

Sung:

This world is all messed up
‘Cause some care just about own needs
How many people in this world
Rise as high and become free . . . . as Bua Loy!!!!!”

(1984)

เรฟูจี Refugee

“. . .all that’s left is boats drifting in
Come on, come on, welcome Refugee!”

(1984)

เสียงเพลงแห่งเสรีภาพ Siang Pleang Heng Saripaap Music of Freedom

“If we want to go forward
[one] must create confidence
or democracy
that is really true, like we long for
so that Thai people can have freedom

Music so [we can] express [to everyone]
that we yearn for a great freedom.
Music so we can express
We long for liberty
Music of freedom

Free-dom!
Music of freedom
Free-dom!
Music of freedom
Free-dom!
Music of freedom
Free-dom!”

(1985)

ประชาธิปไตย Bprachaatipbpadtai Democracy

“Let the citizens have the right to vote
People come grab the reigns of the lives of citizens
[We] will rule the democratic system
Will we play Thai-style or like the system internationally?”

(1986)

ถึกควายทุย ภาค 8 Tuk Kwai Tuey Pak 8 Tuk, the Buffalo with Short/Twisted Horns, Part 8

Note: Bamboo spreads by sending out runners that send up new shoots from underground. In the song “Mai Pai” all the people in the world are said to be related to each other like the bamboo in a clump or grove. In the context of the song “A clump of bamboo” means other people will pop up to take up the project even after you are sidelined from the action.

“Manohk, oh, Manohk
The world still needs people who do good
You are not all alone
On the contrary! A clump of bamboo!

There are still bamboo shoots
putting out leaves, splitting into new clumps
To be shoots to be rows
To be skin and flesh
To be energy
To be strength of spirit
To give moral support”

(1987)

เพื่อเมืองไทย Peua Muang Thai For Thailand

Note: This song originated as a Coke commercial and is addressed to Thai young people. The word “kwam bpen Thai” that I have translated “Thai-being/Thai culture” is usually translated “Thainess,” and “Thainess” is often held up as a standard that young people must conform to. Add Carabao has turned this idea on its head.

“Now the river basin of Thai-Being/Thai culture
goes however we go,
is as we are
No exceptions ever
[If you] don’t try, of course, you won’t know.
It’s something deep from the thoughts in the heart.
If [we] let you teach, will you teach?
If [we] have you think, what will you think?
If we have you do/make [something], then what will you do/make?
[Go ahead! Do it!]

With love and intention
Confident even for a long time
You are the beautiful future
People who carry on the creation of Thai society
It’s something profound from the thoughts in one’s heart
If [we] let you teach, can you teach?
[We] want you to think. What do you think?
[If we] have you do [something], what will you do?
It’s something deep from the thoughts in the heart
Open doors! What doors [will you open]?
[We] want you to think. What do you think?
We’d have you do [something]. What’ll you do?
It’s something deep from the thoughts in one’s heart.
We’d have you do [something]. Can you do it?
For Thailand with [your] heart and mind.
For Thailand, what will you do?”

(1991)

ในนามแห่งความรัก Nai Nam Heng Rak In the Name of Love

“Tell the person beside you, please tell them loudly, that love still exists
What disappeared from this city is still fine; it hasn’t fled anywhere
A city where people urgently push and crowd and rush around
The city where there the cars are stuck in traffic and [drivers] compete for breathable air
Nature had to be destroyed
Exchanged for drunkenness, lust, and passion . . .Lust and passion

Tell the person beside you, please tell them loudly, that love is calling for you
But in this period, people right now are dazzled by civilization [by the big, bright city]
Walking like blind people, their eyes unseeing
Groping for a way to survive, devoid of kindness
Where are there any schools or universities that teach people to be human? . . .Teach people to be human?

But great love hasn’t yet arisen. Support each other if you are able.
Until the sky collapses
The land crumbles
Even if the world is razed to the ground and destroyed by fire for all time
There in a dream, at one time love had arrived
On the earth, once upon a time, it’s beautiful with color,
nature, many species of wild animals and plants,
People love each other like a verse of poetry, brothers and sisters!
(2X)

Tell the person beside you, please tell them loudly, that love is begging you
The love from two people, has a harmony that is beautiful, wonderful
Young people are [our] strength; they are [our] hope
[One’s] two hands are where [it starts], not [with] some third party
Love wants me to follow it. I come in the name
of love!
Love wants me to follow it. I come in the name of love!
Love has me come along. I come . . . . in the name of love!”

(1994)

หลวงพ่อคูณ Luang Por Koon

Note: This song is about the famous monk Luang Por Koon, who passed away (in 2015) at the age of 91. This song is on the album, “People who Create the Nation.” It seems that Add and other Carabao band were followers of Lung Por Koon, as were many Thai people. He was thought to have especially strong magical powers, but this song makes fun of the superstitious followers and has Luang Por Koon telling his followers that it is really up to them to fix things. The notes under the official video say [in translation]: “Don’t be wrapped up in waiting for fate or relying on a Buddha image only. It should also depend on the efforts and perseverance of each person.”

“Auspicious, great, kindness
But upright people, students of Luang Por Koon
All flow in to make merit.
The blessing of Luang Por Koon:
May you be rich, rich!
Accepting and giving out auspicious objects
and sprinkling holy water
His holiness helps upright people
To walk on the path, safe, going along beautifully,
doing business, rich
Like winning the lottery, a big number

Just this please, Luang Por Koon?
Please protect us, please protect us!
[They] grab and soak in the holy water

There are many disciples/followers
There are many government ministers, and members of the House of Representatives
They all ask for blessings continually
Luang Por tells these young guys,
the kickboxers, gangsters, and players,
the stars, lucky and prominent, confident to the point of amazing
Luang Por Koon, he tells these young guys,
It’s [really] up to you guys
to be thinking about good and evil
Good and evil is inside the skull
I come and knock [it], bonk! bonk! Be sure to remember and not forget!
(Good and evil is inside the skull)
I come knock [it], bonk! bonk! Be sure to remember and not forget!
Enter all you government ministers,
Members of the House, mischief makers, I will give a blessing:
Go sit in Parliament
I won’t have you speaking abusively. [You] must be aware!
Hang a monk or Buddha [amulet around the neck] to be an model
The citizens are distressed
And so they march [in protest]”

(1994)

รกกำเนิด Rok Gamnert Original Placenta

“The tall skyscrapers are so beautiful you crane your neck [to look up]
Manufactured products come from minerals and woods
However tall you build it, there is likely no point [no benefit]
If the forested mountain must be completely destroyed

In less than 100 years, that’s all, one’s home is pounded to dust
A very tall building will not endure as long as the mountain
Why do humans lose their way and damage their original placenta?
Nature, oh, Nature! . . . Tears fall”

(1997)

ดาวแห่งโดม [ปรีดี พนมยงค์] Dao Haeng Dohm [Pridi Panomyong] Star of the Dome [Pridi Banomyong]

Note: Pridi Banomyong led the revolution that changed Thailand from absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy in 1932, so he the founder of Thai democracy. He is also the founder of Thammasat University.

“The human world will be beautiful if people dare ask themselves,
Throughout life, do I ever dare challenge injustice?
Let this bruised gloomy burned world meet its fortune and fate
But the person named Pridi dared to do it. Remember this for sure!”

(2001)

ดอกไม้สีชมพู (Dok Mai See Champoo) Pink Flower

Note: This is a heart-wrenching song about the plight of a transgendered person. Add wrote it in 2002 in the first person, and sings it himself (similar to the song “Please, Answer the Child” where he puts himself in the place of a child.)

“My fragrance stimulates the heart. I’m a pink flower
lonely, shimmering. In the end, I’ll be alone and depressed
I want to scream and cry so the world knows
Ask them, Just where am I wrong?
Am I wrong that my heart is a girl?
Am I wrong that my body is a boy?
My body I still don’t understand
I want to have someone to come and understand me [enter my heart]

A flower has no right to chose
A group of insects come to smell
Bow the head and accept the bruising.
I’m a pink flower.”

(2002)

ไม่ยืนยง Mai Yuenyong Not Endure [Forever] 

Note: Add Carabao’s real first name is “Yuenyong” which means endurance. So when he is saying endurance doesn’t endure. He is talking about his own mortality.

“My hands have a guitar. With perseverance [I] distill songs from tears
Loves songs are written by a pen, but my songs are written by life.
Lyrics for life.

The sky is still wide open. The sparkling rain waits to sprinkle the ground so perennials are waving branches in the wind
The story of a small person who becomes a popular is like [when] insects come and joyfully smell a blooming flower. . . .

[There’s] the saying that endurance doesn’t endure. Endurance doesn’t endure.**
Oh . . .Oh . . . Yuenyong doesn’t endure.”

(2004)

ความหมาย (Kwam Mai) Meaning

“Life’s meaning is determined by [those] having life.”

(2005)

เว้นวรรค Wen-Wak Some Space

Note: According to Thai Wikipedia, there were many Songs for Life artists and music stars with the crowds gathering to drive out Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, but not Carabao or Add Carabao. Someone asked his opinion and he immediately wrote this song, which was interpreted to mean he thought Prime Minister Thaksin should step down. He refers back to Cruel May 1992, a mass popular uprising, in which he participated, that ended with a  massacre of protesters by the military.

“Lower the temperature of harshness
Everywhere people are glaring suspiciously at each other
The ghosts of the city whisper of evil omens coming
The blood and tears of Thai people will flow to caress the land

Cruel May [1992] I hear/feel the sound of the guns resounding,
lashing into [our] mothers, father, sisters, and brothers at Sapaan Paan Fai [The King’s Bridge]
Fear speeds over to impress itself on the heart. Death is carried on its back
[You]  tell [your]self “I’m outta here,” get out of the way, and hide from the violence

Everyone retreat their different steps, so afterward we can move forward
Democracy will gain strength
For Thailand, why must we buy [it] expensively?
In a dignified way, [we can] lower the harshness by taking a break [by means of spacing]”

(2006)

ขี้เมากะเพราแตะ Kee Mow Graprow Dtae The Drunken Basil Flip-Flops

Note: From a silly song that tells the story of a wife who gets sick of being bossed around by her husband at his drunken party, and when she runs out of food in the refrigerator and he is still demanding more stir-fried basil dishes, she cuts up her flip flops and makes stir-fried basil flip flops to serve him and his friends.

“This is the story of basil stir-fry that quite clearly stir [fries] for women’s rights
Watch out! The alcoholic who likes to oppress will one day encounter the drunken basil stir-fried flip-flops”

(2006)

ตอบหนูที “Dap Nu Tee” Please Answer the Child

Note: This song is about a terrorist attack on a school. And the pronouns used are all the pronouns used by children, so this puts the song in a child’s voice (although Add sings it).

“The smoke drifts and lingers
The truth appears before us
The scene blurry because of a curtain of tears
Alas, the school was burned last night
The sadness isn’t over [?]
The teacher died, hit by a bullet
This morning we still had a teacher standing
beside us kids
looking at the ruined school

What was it my school did?
Why’d you have to burn the school?
Did my teacher do anything?
Why’d you have to kill the teacher?
Was my school hurting anyone?
Why destroy the school?
How was our teacher in the wrong?
Why did you have to kill the teacher . . . of us children?

So I now I will study wherever
And who will come be the teacher?
And why be so cruel to me?
Whoever knows, please answer me”

(2007)

ผ่านพบที่ผูกพัน Paan Pop Tee Pook Pan The Encounter that is a Lasting Connection

“As life goes along, the more you look, the more it resembles a soap opera. Shoulder love, shoulder struggle. Cross the sky, mountain, and sea.
For the most part, it’s disappointment, experiencing only failure. If just sometimes, or only once, something fulfills your expectations, it’s enough
Because life is short. You encounter [something], and instantly it passes
But it’s likely to leave furrows, buried deep in the memory.
Do you ever sometimes have someone . . . you meet and are instantly bonded?
Even through day and night you dream away and don’t forget . . . . the encounter that is a lasting connection

Himalayan glaciers melting and flowing down to sea. This life is like that: it begins then dies and disappears.
But love, on the other hand, is secure, arising as a legend, calling out [a song] –a melody of happiness mixed with suffering mixed with relationships/strong connections.
Because life is short. Encountering [something], it shortly passes
But it’s likely to leave furrows, buried deep in the memory.
Do you ever sometimes have someone . . . you meet and are instantly bonded?
Even day and night you dream away and don’t forget . . . . the encounter that leaves a lasting connection

In the place we struggle (even if in the end, we arrive at the same place as before) – in the place we yet walk, it’s still good to have love
This mix of happiness and suffering is only an obstacle. In difficult places one is likely to come across the encounter that leaves a lasting connection.”*

(2008)

* I found a video in which Add introduces the song. He says: “In this life of ours, we are born alone and die alone. Maybe there are some times—some times or some people who give rise to a feeling of awe or being impressed, never to be forgotten. You might take it and turn it into lyrics or poems or compose a song. Or some people will go create movie or a TV drama. I believe all of us have something like this that comes our way. It’s not necessary to tell anyone. Keep it to yourself in your heart, know of it yourself, and you’ll be happy just you yourself. If you do this, you’ll feel good. But if you tell someone, nobody will criticize.”

เพื่อชีวิตติดล้อ Peua Cheewit Dit Lor For Life on Wheels [The Motorcycle Song]

“We get one life. Use it complete,
So it’s enough. Two wheels, just pay for fuel, and drinking up”

(2009)

เพื่อผู้ลี้ภัย Peua Poo Lee Pai For Refugees

Note: From a song that advocates alternatives to refugee camps for refugees.

“Freedom is a life that people have a right to by birth.
Freedom is something that every person seeks. They want something more than a refugee camp.

Immigrants are all along the back of the ax.* They all have spirits and minds aiming for freedom.
I want the world to know through this song that refugees here and anywhere are people

This is an appeal to [my] Thai brothers and sisters
Please recognize the story of refugees
Counting to 100s of thousands of lives. They remain waiting with hope
Waiting for sympathy to help them push forward
See the significance. People change lands
In order to have lives of human freedom
That freedom is a life that people have a right to by birth
The freedom we all seek is to have more than the
rights of only a refugee.”

*The map of Thailand is compared to an ax, so along the back of the ax would be along the border with Myanmar.

(2008)

สุดขอบฟ้า Sud Kob Fah The Horizon

Note: Add wrote the hook for this inspirational song by the rap group Thaitanium.

Add sings

: “…If in that day [they] didn’t try,
today who knows where we would be standing?
[One] must live life with regret that [one/someone] didn’t do it.
Life would probably lose its meaning if we don’t do it. Woot! . . .

Day raps:

Way up high in the sky, it’s very cold
There is a storm, there is a story.
You can’t see, there’s a white fog. Really?
Up in the dark sky, a shiny star is sparkling
Shining brilliantly. Who is that star?
Tell me, who are you?”

(2010)

กำลังใจคาราบาว Gamlang Jai Carabao Carabao Strength of Spirit/Moral Support

Note: This song celebrates the 30th Anniversary of the band Carabao. (They always have special songs on the multiple-of-5 anniversaries of the band).

“On the road, our Songs for Life are a product of social ideology
Good and bad [examples] in the songs that one day will be a legend, a spirit aiding each other
But on the Middle Path in religion, certainty is uncertain
Bow and accept life as it comes, like a person who is drenched until you know [you are] awake”

(2011)

แสงทองส่องทาง Seng Tong Song Tang Golden Light Lighting the Way

“Every person should have the right
to think and to see what seems to be problem.
Why don’t you ask yourself sometimes,
why must [they] always be flexing muscles?
To be in a warm embrace, is something everyone needs
But not teargas [and a] spray of bullets!

. . . .A bird flies where he likes,
[If he] wants to eat, to sleep, he has the freedom
Why don’t people have freedom,
even though people are much more sophisticated than birds?

. . .Young men and women you have a pure heart
Continue fighting. This world will be in your hand.
Guardians come and then pass by
Citizens are the ones who will continue standing up
To be in a warm embrace, is something everyone needs
But not tear gas! Not a spray of bullets!”

(2012)

ยังบาว Young ‘Bao

Note: From the theme song for the movie Young ‘Bao, a movie about the formation of the band Carabao.

“If this world didn’t have songs, people would remain colorblind
For the one life that [we] have: lively music, lively dancing to refresh the heart!”

(2013)

อยากได้อะไรทำไมไม่บอก Yaak Dai Arai Tamai Mai Bok If You Want Something, Why Don’t You Tell [Us]?

Note: This is a song addressed to the Muslim population in the south of Thailand. He is pleading for a peaceful resolution of the problem (in an area conquered by the Kingdom of Siam in 1785) rather than terrorism (as mentioned in the song ‘ตอบหนูที “Dap Nu Tee” Please Answer the Child).

“If one could apologize on behalf of others, I want to apologize, on their behalf, for the purpose of redemption
To withdraw the sin that was committed already, to eradicate [it] all until the seed(s) spread(s) out to the tip of the ax*
So sorry for our country. Our Southern home. The end of tranquility.

The suffering that is covered up and pressed down[?] [Let’s] help each other take account of it. Help each other bring it out, and fix it.
Lets combine our thoughts, our strength, our hearts. [If] you think something or want something, we want you to come explain it.
With reason, search for a conclusion, and [we] will break free towards peace.

If you want to get something, (peacefulness, peacefulness) why don’t you tell [us]?
If you want to get something, (peacefulness, peacefulness) why don’t you tell [us]?

If [you] want something, then tell us. Our mutual desire is still peace
The country probably won’t cling to stubborn convictions. The religions of ethnic groups can be different from each other.
We can live together. We can portion everything out. Please tell us.”

*The shape of Thailand on a map is like an ax. The Southern part of Thailand is the handle of the ax.

(2013)

ค่าของคน Kaa Kong Kon The Value of a Person

“The golden sun, the indigo sky,
[they] have a question: Will you struggle?
[You may] think only of being discouraged, only of waiting for luck
[Think], Where is the true value of a person?
People are born very precious/excellent
Born beautiful human beings
The value of a person still waits for the proving
So what about you? What kind of person do you want to be?

Be like the birds that soar
Out to find food to nourish their bodies
Your value that is true
I know where it is
Oneself is up to oneself
Only you yourself can support it.
Make up your mind to do it to the fullest
Be proud of the duty/function that you have
The value of a person is right here
Right here is the value for society

You have usefulness for society
You ARE a benefit of society”

(2013)

วางดาบ Wang Dap Set Down the Sword

Note: This song may annoy some people because of the context. It came out right after a coup. Add Carabao appeared to take a “give dictatorship a chance” approach (my words, not his) to avoid further violence (many died and were injured in the government crackdown on the protests.) But with or without context, the song is remarkable for its driving rock ‘n roll enthusiasm for moderation.

“Confucius once told us: Those who like to play chess
Don’t only think of attacking, so you must also have a way to retreat from an attack
It’s natural that people have their stubborn convictions
But the superior type of person sets down the sword

[To] put down the sword, trust, and back down is normal
Put down the sword in equanimity. To live as normal is more precious than anything.

People consider being born into life as so ordinary
And never think to be amazed about it
But as soon as they fall ill and the doctor tells them it’s a horrible disease
They want [everything] restored to normal

While we still have life, we need to learn to be happy
Don’t increase all the suffering with fortune, rank, desire, and passion
People are born into one life. It’s a precious creation
Normal life puts down the sword

[To] put down the sword, trust, and back down is normal
Put down the sword in equanimity. To live normally is more precious than anything.

(If it’s too heavy to bear, put it down! Then [you’ll feel] light and comfortable . . .)

Because ordinary things, actually already are special things
Really, really [special] for humans like us

[To] put down the sword, trust, and back down is normal
Put down the sword in equanimity. To live normally is more precious than anything.”

(2014)

อยากได้ยิน Yaak Daiyin Want to Hear

Note: This is another song that came out right after the coup. It pleads for reconciliation between people with polarized political views.

“What words would you like to hear from all those many people who pass back and forth?
“Hello,” sending a smile your way, would likely be better than a suspicious frown
Because in our hearts, we don’t hear their hearts. And their hearts also search to hear our hearts
If hearts can sense each other and share the suffering, happiness is not far off.

This world still needs love. This world still needs empathy/mutual understanding
Catch each other’s eyes with forgiving love, and move forward learning from it.

We have mountains, rivers, and oceans. We have all kinds of animals sharing the habitat
There are humans, there is you and me. Here is paradise: the one and only world right here.
They say that our world amounts to the tip of the antennae of a snail, [that] life gets tossed away like a cigarette butt
[We] must learn about our hearts and minds; release the spirit to cross the bridge to freedom

There is no happiness comparable to peace. All [our] experience shows this is true
There is true, earnest anger. History is [our] example.
It’s a question awaiting an answer from people.”

(2014)

น้ำ Naam Water

“The most important thing about humankind is that life is precious
We are born because we are born. It wasn’t destiny or the business of anyone
The time we have isn’t that long. We must do [what we do] following our love and desires
The water is polluted because [we] give up on our beliefs [and] don’t persist in searching for truth, which is a thing that doesn’t die”

(2015)

เพลงของกู เวอร์ชั่น 3 Playng Kong Gu Version 3 My Song, Version 3

Note: This song, posted straight to Facebook, seems to respond to criticism that Add Carabao had strayed too far from his early Communist and then pro-working class ideology, becoming a rich capitalist.

“Songs for Life arose and still exist
They are a door, they are defining
October 14, 1973 [a famous popular uprising against dictatorship]
A tragic day this world must remember [because so many died in the struggle]

But this song here, is MY song
Written from what I know
Know from Buddha’s teachings
Know from a heart that is brightened/clear

Songs for Life were written to join the struggle
In the middle of the jungle, in the middle of the mountains. The troops in the jungle have guns
Saying goodbye to the classroom. We let it all go
Many hundreds and thousands [for] not a very long time.

[Our] ideology lead us far
Then we were defeated. It was like waking up from a dream,
turning back to reality

MY song. MY story.
The song of me. It doesn’t stay still
Everything changes according to the factors
Everything changes, and the lyrics also are not the same as before

The Songs for Life are dedicated to those people
Who still fight throughout the country of Thailand
Relieving sadness, a blanket for the heart
Just this, which is all I can do. Just that, which is what I know

But this song here is my song
My body is mine. My songs are mine
For a life of independence [not under anybody else]

My song. My story
My story. It doesn’t say still
Everything changes according to the factors
Everything changes, and the lyrics also are not the same as before

[Then he starts singing in Pali (seems to be a Buddhist chant)]:

Wa ya taama sangkara
Aba ma tay na sambpa tay ta”

(2017)

กัญชาคอมมิชชั่น Ganja Commission [Cannabis Commission]

Note: Carabao played a role in a successful campaign to decriminalize marijuana in Thailand! In order to do it, they had to openly apologize for an early song that (probably disingenuously) condemned marijuana.

“Ganja. America makes cold war
Ganja. Pressuring the UN
To force the third world, as with Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia
to pass laws [treating] ganja as an addictive drug

… America forbids us, but they turn around and use
Both cultivating and selling, [cannabis] blooming is [big] business
Thais and ganja have been closely tied since forever
Then the law comes along and classifies ganja is an addictive drug
Those who grow it and add it to chicken soup are still guilty!
It’s an infringement on the rights and liberties of the people!
So who takes commissions [to grow ganja] and kickbacks from the Cannabis Commission?

… Ganja is a medicine, a local herb
That’s been around for so very long, since the Age of Narai [1631-1688]
But America is afraid they won’t be able to sell it [because Thailand will underprice them], and so they obstruct the Thai people
[They] hold that planting and using [it] is wrong
May Thais please have their rights to access marijuana?
Can we please fix the law, unlocking [ganja] from [the category of] addictive drugs?
And together we’ll help oversee use of marijuana, so that it isn’t abused
That’s better than to keep infringing on the rights and liberties of people.
It’s better than taking a commission or kickback from the Cannabis Commission”

(2019)

ยอดมนุษย์ 2% Yot Manut Song Percen The Top 2 Percent of Humanity

Note: This song relates to Add Carabao’s 68th birthday on November 9, 2022. I assume he is calculating the odds of survival for someone born in his cohort, in 1954. It includes words in Sanskrit that are used as a protective incantation. In the context of the song, it means something like “knock on wood.” The jist of the song is “We’re lucky to be alive.”

“There are 7 billion people on this planet
Do you know previously, [by] only 14 years of age,
26 percent left this world, and died, even though they were still young

[REFRAIN] Not quite yet, it’s still not our turn
We’re not buried, not burned [in a cremation ceremony] “Vaya-dhamma sankhara”* [“Decay is inherent in all compounded things]

66 percent left [this world] between ages 15 and 64
There are only 8 percent who live and eat well, until today. That is our blessing.

REFRAIN

At 65 years still 8 percent left
6 billion have left this world
The people born at the same time as me have dropped away in great numbers
I’m already lucky to have passed through young adulthood

REFRAIN

When I was born, the word was still low-tech.
Today the internet shrinks the whole world
You don’t have to go to the bank to withdraw money
Cars and trains don’t need to refill with gasoline

“Vaya-dhamma sankhara …” –– a protective incantation.
Who passes 90 years? It’s the top 2 percent.”

(2022)

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!!!

คาราบาวกราบคารวะ Carabao Grap Carawa (Carabao Pay Their Respects)

The tune and words by เล็ก คาราบาว Lek Carabao (Oct 12, 2023)

NOTE: This farewell song was posted to straight to Facebook by Lek Carabao after the announcement of the break-up of the band Carabao. P’Lek’s song riffs off the 40th Anniversary song: 40 ปี ฅนคาราบาว See Sip Bpee Kon Carabao (Ye Olde Carabao Band: 40 Years).

กี่หมื่นกี่แสนกี่ล้านกิโลก็ไม่ย่อท้อ
However many ten thousands, hundred thousands, or millions of kilos [we travel on tour], we weren’t disheartened.
ตราบที่มีแรงไปต่อจะขอโลดแล่น
And long as we have strength, we rush ahead
สติยังดีสองขาสองแขน
Our minds are still good, and we have two legs and two arms
พวกเรามีแผนเลิกเล่นปีนี้แน่นอน
We all plan to retire from playing this year for sure

งานเลี้ยงย่อมมีวันเลิกรา
There is naturally a day when the party ends
คาราบาวก็ ไม่อยู่เหนือกฎเกณฑ์นั้น
Carabao is not above that law
มันเป็นเรื่องราวธรรมดา
It’s an ordinary story
มีมาก็ต้องมีไป
There is coming and there must be going
ขอให้เพื่อนผ่องน้องพี่
I ask all you friends, brothers and sisters
ได้ดีดีมีสุขทุกคน
Be well and happy everyone.
40 ปีที่เราเวียนวน
For 40 years we have made the rounds
อยู่บนเวทีเดียวกัน
On stages together

ขอบพระคุณแฟนเพลงทุกท่าน
Thank you to our fans, each one
เรามีวันนี้พระท่านทั้งหลาย
We’ve had a chance to have all you honored fans
หญิงชายมากมายทั่วร่าง
Male and female, everyone
คาราบาวขอกราบคารวะ
Carabao pays their respects
ชนะภัยชนะทุกข์สุขทัวร์กัน
Conquering danger, conquering suffering on every tour together
คืนวันแม้ผ่านไปใจตราตรึง
Even though the days and nights have past, the heart is left impressed
ซาบซึ้งในน้ำใจทุกๆท่าน
I am grateful for everyone’s kindness.
คิดถึงกันถึงกันตลอดไป
We’ll always miss each other/think of each other.
คืนวันแม้ผ่านไปใจตราตรึง
Even though the days and nights have passed, the heart is left impressed
คิดถึงกันถึงกันตลอดไป
We’ll miss each other/think of each other always
จะคิดถึงคิดถึงกันตลอดไป
We’ll miss each other/think of each other always
คืนวันแม้ผ่านไปใจตราตรึง
Even though the days and nights have past the heart is left impressed
จะคิดถึงคิดถึงกันตลอดไป
We’ll miss each other/think of each other always

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 . . .

ดอกไม้ให้คุณ Dok Mai Hai Kun (Flowers for You)

Lyrics and Melody by สุรชัย จันทิมาธร Surachai Chantimatorn aka หงา คาราวาน Nga Carawan
On the album ดวงดาว ดวงตา ดวงใจ (Stars, Eyes, Heart) (1987)

After translating this famous and beautiful Nga Carawan song by special request, I realized there is probably a related Carabao song, which is not so beautiful (and this is by design as it is a humorous song): A Pot of Flowers for You” which came out in the same year as Nga Caravan’s “Flowers for You.” Check it out.

ขอมอบดอกไม้ในสวนนี้ เพื่อมวลประชา จะอยู่แห่งไหน จะใกล้จะไกลจนสุดขอบฟ้า
May I give the flowers in this garden for the masses of people wherever they may be, whether near or far, all the way to the horizons.
…มอบความหวังดังดอกไม้ผลิ สดไสวงอาณา เป็นกำลังใจให้คุณ เป็นกำลังใจให้เธอ เป็นสิ่งเสนอให้มา….
Bestowing hope like spring flowers, a bright circle of territory, to be encouragement for you, encouragement for you dear. [That]’s something I propose to bring [to you].

ดวงตะวันทอแสง มิถอยแรงอัปรา เป็นเปลวไฟที่ไหม้นาน เป็นสายธารที่ชุ่มป่า เป็นแผ่นฟ้าทานทน
The sun shining bright, not holding back it’s awesome strength. It’s a long-burning flame. It’s a stream that waters the forest. It’s the enduring expanse of sky.
ขอมอบดอกไม้ในสวน ให้หอมอบอวลสู่ชน จงสบสิ่งหวังให้สมตั้งใจ ให้คลายหมองหม่น
May I bestow the flowers in the garden so their sweet smell is conveyed to the people. May you find the things you hope for so that your aims are fulfilled, so there is relief from gloom.

…ก้าวต่อไปตราบชีวิตสุด ดุจกระแสชล เป็นกำลังใจให้คุณ เป็นกำลังใจให้เธอ เป็นสิ่งเสนอให้คน
Keep moving forward until life ends, like a stream of water. To be encouragement for you. To be encouragement for you dear. It’s something I propose for you.
เป็นกำลังใจให้คุณ เป็นกำลังใจให้เธอ เป็นสิ่งเสนอให้คน ……
To be encouragement for you. To be encouragement for you dear. It’s something I propose for you.

The Rhyming Scheme of a “กลอน”-Style Thai Poem or Song: A Fun Illustration

Many of the Add Carabao and Eed Opakul song lyrics are in fact a glon กลอน, which is the most common style of Thai poem. Once you learn the glon rhyming scheme, you will find it everywhere in popular Thai songs. Thanks to Luke Bruder Bauer, for alerting me to this pattern.

Quickly,
1) The last word of the first line rhymes with the middle of the second line.
2) The ends of the second and third lines rhyme with each other, and with the middle of the fourth line
3) The last word of the last line rhymes with the ends of the second and third lines OF THE NEXT VERSE.

So for instance, in that ultra-catchy motorcycle song “เพื่อชีวิตติดล้อ” (“For Life on Two Wheels”), that Add Carabao wrote and sings with Sek Loso, I’ve highlighted the rhymes in the lyrics below this video:

In addition, it’s good to have words next to each other match in some way (rhyme, near rhyme, alliteration) if possible, especially at the early part of the line. So for instance, in the 4th verse (I don’t see it in the other verses):

ยากดีมีจนก็แค่คนขับสองล้อ
yâak dee mee jon gôr kâe kon kàp sŏng lór
เกิดมาชาติเดียวก็ใช้มันให้พอ
gèrt maa châat dieow gôr chái man hâi por
เพื่อชีวิตติดล้อ ขอแค่เศษสตางค์ เติมน้ำมันน้ำเมา
pêua chee-wít dtìt lór kŏr kâe sàyt sà-dtaang dterm náam man nám mao

And the last verse has this going on with both similar vowel sounds and alteration:

เอ้า…สองล้อพอเพียง แค่นี้ก็เพียงพอ
âo … sŏng lór por piang kâe née gôr piang por
สองล้อพอเพียง ชีวิตที่เพียงพอ
sŏng lór por piang chee-wít têe piang por

And here is my singable, rhyming translation of “เพื่อชีวิตติดล้อ” (“For Life on Two Wheels”).** This is one of the later singable translations done after learning of this rhyming scheme. (More recent singable translations should all have this feature, while my earliest singable translations do not.) At the risk of confusing things, I’ve also pointed out some “bonus” rhymes in the last line, arguably similar to the pattern of the original song:

อยากลืมเรื่องราวที่ปวดร้าวใจ
Forget the worries that pain your mind
ปัดเป่าทิ้งไป…บนทางไฮเวย์
Toss them behind on a highway
มาเถิดพี่น้องเพื่อนพ้องฮาเล่ย์
Come Harley friends let’s leave today
ถึงรถจะเท่ ไม่เท่ ไม่ใช่เรื่องสำคัญ ใช่
Two wheels? OK. Cool deal. For real, it’s swell . . . yeah

มีฝันมีหวังมีหนทางเสมอ
With dreams and hope, you have a path to ride
รวมพลเพื่อนเกลอ ถึงไหนถึงกัน
Friends at your side to heaven or hell
มีแค่วันนี้และไม่ต้องแคร์วันนั้น
There’s just today. Other days, oh well!
ถึงนรก…สวรรค์ ยังมีเกลอและกัน จะสนมันทำไม
If bad luck fell, we’d have friends and roads that bend, so why worry too?

*จอกนี้แด่เพื่อนและมิตรภาพ
I’ll raise this glass: I love you guys
ที่ซาบซึ้งมานานแต่ไม่เคยอธิบาย
Though I’ve disguised just how much it is true
ไม่เสียชาติเกิดแล้วล่ะมิตรสหาย
I’ve kept my homeland and all of you*
ที่มีเพื่อนดีๆอย่างนาย ที่มีเหล้าแรงๆย้อมใจ ฝันร้ายก็กลายเป็นดี…ดี
With GOOD friends like this crew, en-courag-ing me through, bad dreams change into sweet

**ช้างป่าอยู่ป่า ฮาเล่ย์อยู่ถนน
Elephants in woods, Harleys on the road
ยากดีมีจนก็แค่คนขับสองล้อ
Don’t load much stuff, I’m roaring down the street
เกิดมาชาติเดียวก็ใช้มันให้พอ
We get one life. Use it complete,
เพื่อชีวิตติดล้อ ขอแค่เศษสตางค์ เติมน้ำมันน้ำเมา
So it’s enough. Two wheels, just pay for fuel, and drinking up

Solo *, **

เอ้า…สองล้อพอเพียง แค่นี้ก็เพียงพอ
All I need’s my bike. Just this, I’m alright
สองล้อพอเพียง ชีวิตที่เพียงพอ
All I need’s a bike. The life that’s alright!

You can also rhyme the last word of a verse with the end of the first line of the next verse. The pattern of the กลอน (glon) is also easy to see in the new song “บันไดรุ้ง” “Ban-Dai Rung” (“Rainbow Stairs”) that Add Carabao posted on Facebook (look at the Thai and not the English; I did not do a rhyming translation). In fact “Rainbow Stairs” may be a purer example of a glon because the last line of each verse of “For Life on Two Wheels” is unusually complicated. Look out for the glon rhyming pattern in the lyrics of the Thai songs you listen to.

* I now have a better translations of this line (“I’ve lived my life well with all of you”) reflecting that “เสียชาติเกิด” means “wasted one’s life” (not “abandoned one’s homeland”) as previously [mis]understood.
** My direct, non-rhyming translation of “เพื่อชีวิตติดล้อ” (“For Life on Two Wheels”) is HERE.

ลูกเรือ Luuk Reua (Ship Staff) by HUGO

Melody by Hugo; lyrics by กฤษติกร พรสาธิต & ฟองเบียร์ (Krittikorn Pornsatit & Fongbeer)
From the album เรือสำราญราตรีอมตะ Immortal Night Cruise (2021)

This is a Hugo song, unrelated to Carabao. I’m posting it here because I love the song so much, and to link it to an article on the singer/songwriter “Hugo (Lek) Chakrabongse Levy” in the “Backstage” section under the heading “Introduction to other Artists through Carabao”. This is from the amazing concept album and music video เรือสำราญราตรีอมตะ Immortal Night Cruise. According to Hugo the album concept is “What if in the future people took space cruises?” According to Hugo, the idea for song #2 was to do a standard Thai “migrant missing home” song, but set it in the future. (There are many Carabao “migrant missing home” songs; I will list some at the end of the this song translation.)*

ฝั่งไกลลับตา เหมือนว่าเพึ่งจากมา เดี๋ยวก็ได้กลับไป
The far shore drops out of sight. It’s like I just got here; in a minute I can go back.
ห่างจนลับตา นึกในใจขึ้นมา เดี๋ยวมันคือเมื่อไร
So far way it’s out of sight. A thought arises, “‘In a minute,’ when is that?”

ทำงาน ทำใจ ในมรสุมมากมาย..เพื่อใคร
Work. Try to make the best of things. Through many monsoons . . . for who?
ใจมันคิดถึงแค่ฝั่งไกลลับตา เหมือนว่าเพึ่งจากมา เดี๋ยวก็ได้กลับไป
My heart thinks only of the distant shore out of sight. It’s like I just got here. In a minute I can go back.
ห่างจนลับตา นึกในใจมา เดี๋ยวมันคือเมื่อไร
So far way it’s out of sight. A thought arises, “‘In a minute,’ when is that?”

เหม่อมองฟ้าไกล ฟ้าค่อยมืดดับไป ป่านนี้เธอเป็นอย่างไร
[I] absently stare at the distant sky gradually darkening to black
ทำงาน ทำไป ฉันมีชีวิตวุ่นวายเพื่อใคร
Work. Keep working. My life is chaotic . . . for someone
มันดีจริงแล้วหรือเปล่า..
Are they actually doing well, or not?

ฝั่งไกลลับตา เหมือนว่าเพึ่งจากมา เดี๋ยวก็ได้กลับไป
The far shore drops out of sight. It’s like I just got here; in a minute I can go back.
ห่างจนลับตา นึกในใจขึ้นมา เดี๋ยวมันคือเมื่อไร
So far way it’s out of sight. A thought arises, “‘In a minute,’ when is that?”

ฉันออกเดินทางเพื่อใคร ใช้วันพรุ่งนี้ที่มีให้ใคร ตกลงชีวิตฉันเป็นของใคร
I’ve taken off on a journey for who? I’m going to spend all day tomorrow for who? Decide whose life mine is.
ไปตามกระแสที่ลอยล่องไป ไม่เห็นปลายทางสักที ไม่เห็นปลายทางสักที
Go with the flow, that flows along and away. I can’t see the end of this path at all. I can’t see the end of this path at all.

*Some Carabao songs about migrants missing home (not a complete list):

เดือนเพ็ญ Duan Pen Full Moon
ซาอุดร Sa-Udon
หรอย Roi (Fun)
หนุ่มสุพรรณ Num Suphan 2 (Young Man from Suphan 2)

ดังที่สุดในจักรวาล Dang Teesut Nai Jakrawan (The Most Famous in the Universe) by HUGO

Melody by Hugo (จุลจักร จักรพงษ์): lyrics by Hugo (จุลจักร จักรพงษ์), ฟองเบียร์ (Fongbeer) and กฤษติกร พรสาธิต Krittikorn Pornsatit
From the album เรือสำราญราตรีอมตะ Immortal Night Cruise (2021)

This is a Hugo song, unrelated to Carabao. I’m posting it here because I love the song so much, and to link it to an article on the singer/songwriter “Hugo (Lek) Chakrabongse Levy” in the “Backstage” section under the heading “Introduction to other Artists through Carabao” This is from the amazing concept album and music video เรือสำราญราตรีอมตะ Immortal Night Cruise. According to Hugo the concept is “What if in the future people took space cruises?” So each song explores the space cruise ship experience, especially for the Thais on board. According to Hugo this song presents the experience of a Thai person in the entertainment industry, finding their place among entertainers from around the world on the ship.

ฉันไม่รู้ว่าจะห้ามยังไง จะทำอะไรก็มีแต่คนตาม
I don’t know how someone would restrain themselves. Whatever you want to do, there’s people doing it.
ฉันไม่รู้ว่าจะซื้ออะไร ให้เงินในบัญชีมันหมดธนาคาร
I don’t know what I should buy. [They] put so much money in my account I empty out the bank
ฉันไม่รู้ … ว่าต้องหวังอะไร ให้มันใหญ่พอจะเก็บรางวัล
I don’t know what I must hope for. Make it big. Enough so I collect the prize
ฉันไม่รู้ว่าต้องค่ายอะไร ที่มันคู่ควรกับฉัน
I don’t know where I must set up camp, where is a good fit for me.

ก็ ….คนมันดัง มันดังที่สุดในจักรวาล
It’s like . . . people are famous. The most famous in the universe
คนมันดัง … ดัง มันดังที่สุดในจักรวาล
People are famous . . The most famous in the universe
คนมันดัง
People are famous.

ยังไม่ทันได้ออกไปไหน ก็เป็นข่าวลือให้เขียนกันทุกวัน
I haven’t been able to go out anywhere yet. That’s just the gossip they write everyday
ยังไม่ทันได้พูดอะไร ไมค์ทุกตัวก็จ่อมารวมกัน
I haven’t been able to say anything yet. Every mic has people gathered around it.
ยังไม่ทันได้ร้องอะไร คนก็กรี้ดกร๊าดจนฮอลแทบจะพัง
I haven’t been able to sing anything yet. People screamed until the halls almost collapsed
ยังไม่ทันได้ขยับอะไร คนก็เป็นลมกันจัง
I still haven’t been able to move around at all. People are actually fainting.
สลบเป็นพัน…เพราะดังที่สุดในจักรวาล
Thousands have fainted. Because they’re the most famous in the universe
คนมันดัง ….ดัง
People are famous . . . famous
มันดังที่สุดในจักรวาล
The most famous in the universe
เป็นตำนาน
They are legends

ฉันไม่ต้องปักหมุดอะไร ไม่ว่าที่ไหนก็ที่ของฉัน
I don’t need to tie myself down in any way. Wherever I am, that’s my place.
ฉันไม่ต้องแข่งขันกับใคร ไม่มีใครอยู่ระดับเดียวกัน
I don’t need to compete with anyone. There is no one on the same level as me.
ฉันไม่ต้องไปหรอกสวรรค์ เพราะชีวิตจริงมันดีกว่านั้น
I don’t need to go to hell and to heaven because real life is better than that.
ที่ฉันต้องไปแต่ละวัน คือเวทีเท่านั้น
Where I go each day is just to the stage.

ก็คนมันดัง มันดังที่สุดในจักรวาล
And [these] people are famous, the most famous in the universe
คนมันดัง …ดัง มันดังที่สุดในจักรวาล
People are famous . . . famous. The most in the universe.
เป็นตำนาน
They’re legends
คนมันดัง ….ดัง มันดังที่สุดในจักรวาล
People are famous . . . famous. They are the most famous in the universe
เป็นตำนาน
They are legends
คนมันดัง …..ดัง มันดังที่สุดในจักรวาล
People are famous . . . famous. They’re the most famous in the universe
เป็นตำนาน
They’re legends.

Bamboo, butterflies, crows and seagulls, buffalo, rainbows, hidden stars, the full moon, and an overpass: Symbols used and reused in Carabao and other Thai songs

Rainbows

I recently translated ตำนานดวงดาว Dtamnan Duang Dao (Legend of Stars) (written for Add by ทิวา สาระจูฑะ Teewa Sarachuta) in which the goalpost people aim for in life is the arch of a rainbow, and I went WOW! That’s an inspiring image. In the song, the rainbow is setting out stripes, painting a line from the end of the sky! At the same time, you realize, while it is not spelled out in the song, that you can never reach this goal of arriving at the rainbow; it will always be before you.

The unattainable promise of the rainbow is leveraged to good effect in Add Carabao’s informally published song บันไดรุ้ง Ban-Dai Rung (Rainbow Stairs)–which I now notice is littered with other symbols often used in Carabao-type songs, including the moon, crows, and fireflies). The last line is “Looking at the arch of the seven-colored rainbow, I would like it to be a stairway.”

In Thai songs, the sky or heavens represent sacredness and god-like beings while the ground represents ordinary earthbound people. Of course ordinariness and sacredness can be associated. According to lyrics of the Add Carabao song มาเถอะมาร้องเพลง Maa Tuh Maa Rong Playng (Come! Come Sing a Song), music helps Heaven remain tied to Earth (though no rainbow is mentioned).

In at least one modern-day Thai protest songs, calling for reform of the monarchy (which claims sacred characteristics), a rainbow connects Earth and Sky—but for the purpose of undermining the dichotomy between the two! For those willing or eager to flaunt the lese majesty law (I can do it from the safety of the United States), check out the song รุ้ง or “Rainbow,” celebrating current day activist Rung (her name means “rainbow”). It is by the band Commoner and features rapper Jacobi from Rap Against Dictatorship; it is translated at the website Music of Thai Freedom.

Butterflies

The word for butterfly in Thai means “spirit shirt,” bringing to mind the spirits of loved ones being amongst you, in a cheerful way. Of course, in English we can say “butterfly” without thinking of butter; and it’s the same for Thais saying “spirit shirt”– it just means “butterfly.” Still, I have heard Add Carabao say in an interview, that many of his friends have “turned into butterflies,” meaning that they have died.

How are butterflies used in Carabao songs? ผีเสื้อนักสู้ Pee Seua Nak Soo (Fighter Butterfly), is the key song here. It’s an irrepressibly cheerful song about a butterfly (held up as an example) that happily struggles on towards its goal (a flower) although its wing is injured. This butterfly even is “snuggling with a rainbow.” I just realized that Thai-Belgian singer Palmy has a very similar, but much sadder song titled “Butterfly”  [translated at the website Deungdutjai.com].

Butterflies also used as decoration in Add Carabao’s song คนแบกเป้ Kon Baek Bpay (The Backpacker.) The backpackers arrive at the sunlit side of the mountain, and the friends stand absorbing the moment amongst flowers and butterflies.

The metaphor of a butterfly as a returning ghost is a powerful connotation in the moving song พลจันทร์เดือนเพ็ญ Polachan Duan Pen (Polachan’s [Song] “Full Moon”). Assanee Polachan was a dissident who was missing at the time the song was written. In fact he had died in Laos, as everyone would learn in another few years. The song “Polachan’s ‘Full Moon” begs the missing dissident, “Where are you?” and Add sings: “Whoever is imprisoned/ Whoever is shut in, and locked away/It’s only a body/The heart has wings/Make way to the place/Whatever place is obstructed/ That butterfly is/Polachan[‘s]/song “Full Moon” It seems that Polachan, in the form of his famous beloved song “Full Moon” can reach across all boundaries and connect people who are separated.

A song by the current-day Thai protest band, Commoner, for activist Pai Dao Din (a political prisoner at the time) is titled ฝากรักถึงเจ้าผีเสื้อ “Entrust Love to You, Butterfly,” and includes the line, “Before a body will turn down into the earth, a butterfly will fly to the star[s].” Translated at  MusicofThaiFreedom.

Bamboo

Speaking of Pai, his name means “Bamboo.”

To understand bamboo metaphors in Carabao songs, it is important to know that bamboo spreads by sending out runners underground, so that every piece of bamboo in a clump or grove is likely related to each other. ไม้ไผ่ Maai Pai (Bamboo) is one of the most poetic Carabao songs period, and is in fact the second song on Add Carabao’s recent compilation album “Poem” (available by that name on Amazon Music). I have done a rhyming English translation to prove that the lyrics are stunning. In the song, the sound coming from the bamboo flute reminds us that just as all the bamboo in a grove is related and connected, all the people in the world are related and connected.

This metaphor pops up again just once in the Carabao song Tuk Kwai Tuey 8 (The Buffalo with the Short Twisted Horns, Part 8), from a 10 part Tuk Kwai Tey series of songs spread across the first 10 albums. Manohk, the hero of the Tuk Kwai Tuey saga has had a difficult, persecuted life and has just made a mistake such that he must run away and fight in the jungle so he isn’t arrested. By song number 8, it looks like Manohk has doomed himself. But the song encourages him, saying the world still needs people who do good, “you are not alone/On the contrary! A clump of bamboo!” The next verse further spells out that other shoots of bamboo, will pop up soon, “to be shoots, to be rows, to be skin and flesh, to be energy, to be strength of spirit, to be moral support.”*

Birds

Of course birds can illustrate freedom (check out an excellent but overlooked Carbabo song แสงทองส่องทาง Saeng Tong Song Tang (Golden Light Lighting the Path), or ความฝัน-ความจริง Kwam Fun- Kwam Jing (Dreams-Truth) by Teewa Sarachuta).

But in Carabao-type songs, birds, like butterflies, are often struggling to survive, in a positive way that is held up as an example for humans. The crows in Kon La Fun (Dream Chaser), the birds in Beek (Wings),  Little Bird in Weehok Plad Tin (A Bird Falls to the Ground), and the seagull in Kae Kit Yang Mai Koie (Only Thought About It, Still Haven’t Ever . . .) are all great illustrations of this metaphor.

Birds in Carabao-type songs are also often getting lost (most famously in Telay Jai (Ocean Heart)), and returning to their nests (most famously in คืนรัง Keun Rang (Return to the Nest), by Nga Caravan). Return to the Nest is beautiful song about a famous amnesty in 1980 that allowed many Thai Communists, including presumably Nga Caravan, to surrender and return home. [Translated at Music of Thai Freedom.]

The significance of the Vulture in the famous Carabao song Reng Koi (The Vulture Waits) needs no elaboration. He “waits to see who will fall and who will die” and adds wildness and reality to the scene.

Seagulls are featured in both “Telay Jai” and “Kae Kit Yang Mai Koie.” The Thai word for seagull is นกนางนวล (nok nang nuan). “Nok” means bird, “nang” means woman and “nuan” means creamy white. In older Thai songs, including Carabao songs, woman are often described with this adjective.” An informant explained that the reason “nang”  (นาง)  (women) are always being called “nuan”  (นวล) or “creamy white” ) is it evokes the word for seagull and just sounds nice. That’s good to know. Conversely, we can infer that the seagulls mentioned in Thai songs are perceived as beautiful.

[Incidentally, the word for crow sounds like the sound that a crow makes, “Gaw.” Check out the song กา กา กา (Gaw, Gaw, Gaw) by Palmy, in which she “dances with vultures and crows,” a metaphor for independence. The dancing is awesome!] [Translated at Duengdutjai]

And of course a red bird is included on the Carabao logo, on top of the buffalo skull. I assume that it symbolizes, hope, renewal and freedom.

Buffalos

Any Carabao fan already understands the symbol of the Water Buffalo: they are hard working, uncomplaining, much underappreciated animals that used to plow the fields to provide rice for Thailand. They represent the working class. However, in Thai the word “kwai” (buffalo) is also used as an insult. It is usually not a good thing to be compared to a buffalo. The “Child of the Drunken Uncle,” in the song by that title, migrates from the countryside into Bangkok and is treated as if he is “stained with earth and the smell of musty mud and buffalo.”

The word “Carabao,” of course, means water buffalo, but not in Thai. It comes from Tagalog, a Pilipino language, where if I understand correctly, the water buffalo was used as a symbol for the working class, minus the strong negative stigma. In any case, the band Carabao was formed and named by Thai students studying in the Philippines. (A secondary reason for the band’s choice of name is it sounded like “Caravan,” a Thai Songs for Life band that preceded Carabao.)

The symbol of Carabao is a buffalo skull with a small red bird on its forehead. This symbol is referenced in Carabao songs as “the buffalo head” (Num Bao Sao Parn “Carabao Boy and Parn Girl”) or even just “horns” (secondary meaning of “Wan Waan Mai Mee Kow” (If it weren’t for Her [Today I’d not be here]. The word for him or her (“kow”) is the same as the word for “horns.” Consequently, another way to translate the title, and key line from the song is, “If it weren’t for the Horns (Carabao), today we (the fans) wouldn’t be here.”

To be clear, “Carabao” is not, on its face, an offensive word, like “kwai” (the Thai word for buffalo) might be. To make the name edgy, one has to take an extra step. A Carabao symbol of two buffalos mating does this nicely! You can see this as a sticker on some band members’ guitars, lol.

Carabao wasn’t the first Thai Songs for Life band to symbolically sing about buffalo. One of the band Caravan’s most famous songs is “คนกับควาย” Kon Gap Kwai (Person with Buffalo) set to the tune of Bob Dylan’s “Masters of War,” in 1975. (You can google the YouTube). Though I haven’t translated Kon Gap Kwai, according to Wikipedia, it paints an idylic picture of how a poor farmer and his buffalo take care of each other. It almost certainly helped inspire the aforementioned Tuk Kwai Tuey series of songs (1981 to 1990), which is about a farmer, Manhok, whose favorite buffalo, Tuk is poisoned to death in the first song by an evil capitalist, so that Manohk will be forced to sell his land to him.

Of course, buffalos aren’t only symbolic. There is also direct concern for the buffalo as an animal and their disappearance (along with the elephant) from everyday life as agricultural technology changes. For examples of songs about Buffalos simply look for that heading under Lyrics by Theme.

Stars and hidden stars

Stars are of course a sign of hope. Stars that are hidden by clouds are nevertheless still there, to shine once again when the clouds disappear. There is an old famous Thai protest song, แสงดาวแห่งศรัทธา Saeng Dao Heng Sata  (Starlight of Faith) by Jit Phumisak [translated at Music of Thai Freedom] that I believe is key to understanding many other Thai protest songs, and the Thai prodemocracy movement in general. It is hard to overstate the influence of this song. It is sung at current-day protests and lines are quoted in speeches. And, via social media, I’ve heard it sung at both weddings and funerals of activists, including one funeral that Add Carabao attended (of a Caravan band member). There is zero chance that Add does not know this song, which became famous during the Thammasat University Massacre. Legend has it that, right after the massacre, when thousands of students, who had survived the massacre, were arrested and taken off jail, with the movement squashed perhaps forever, the prisoners spontaneously broke out singing this song throughout the prison. [Add Carabao has a lesser-known album commemorating the Thammasat University Massacre: ข้าวสีทอง: รำลึก 20 ปี 6 ตุลา( Golden Ears of Rice: Commemorating the 20th Anniversary of October 6 [1976]). Look for this album in the Lyrics by Album list.]

It is not clear to me that Add Carabao’s songs ever directly reference “Starlight of Faith,” but like the seagull adds it’s special beauty to an adjective describing women, knowing this song adds extra depth to every poetic mention of a star, especially hidden stars. I urge all Carabao fans to familiarize themselves with this song. (I was convinced of its greatness before realizing its historical significance.)

We have already noted the rainbow in Teewa Sarachuta’s ตำนานดวงดาว (Dtamnan Duang Dao) Legend of Stars. Here I note that this song, with “star” in it’s title, is very much in keeping with the feel of “Starlight of Faith.”

The song สุดขอบฟ้า Sud Kob Fah (The Horizon) by the rap group Thaitanium, featuring Add Carabao, is come to think of it, very similar in theme to both “Legend of Stars” and “Starlight of Faith.” Like “Starlight of Faith,” it makes stunning use of the metaphor of the hidden star, but with an individualistic twist. In the punchline of that song, up in the heavens, behind the stormy clouds where our fate is supposedly determined, “a shiny star is sparkling, shining brightly. Who is that star? . . . Tell me, who are you?” Very inspiring. You must check it out.

The Moon

In many Carabao-type songs, people, especially migrants, look at the moon and miss home. They often ask the moon to send a message to their families, often with the help of the wind.

Young people may not realize that in 1980s when early Carabao songs were written A) cell phones hadn’t been invented yet B) in Thailand, only a few rich people had landlines, and C) everywhere, international calls were prohibitively expensive. Once upon a time, not that long ago, when you left home, there was no way to communicate until you returned. Meanwhile there is always one moon, the same moon the world around, and it’s comforting to think that you and your loved ones, who you can’t reach, at least may be looking at the same moon.

เดือนเพ็ญ Duan Pen (Full Moon) is the iconic looking at the moon and missing home song, which has influenced many other songs. It began as a song by Asanee Polachan, as mentioned above in the “Butterfly” section, and was adapted and popularized by Nga Carawan and Add Carabao, as explained more fully with the song translation. Like “Starlight of Faith,” its influence is hard to overstate. Although it’s not an explicitly political song, its origins are political. It is loved by Thais away from home for any reason, from those going to school abroad to political refugees in exile.

The precedent for asking the Moon for favors may come from a famous Thai children’s lullaby, จันทร์เจ้า Jan Jao (Mr. Moon). A babysitter asks the moon to give the young child a list of things, including rice, and curry; a copper ring, and elephant and a horse toys, a chair, bed, a show [lakorn] to watch, and a grandmother to take care of them. This lullaby is the basis for two other Carabao songs: Summer Hill  and Jan Jao Ka  (Hey, Mr. Moon). (If you click through to “Hey Mr. Moon,” that page also includes a translation of children’s lullaby with a YouTube version of the song).

Of course, the Moon is used poetically in many other  interesting ways. Check out Chang Man Tuh Ngao (Forget it! [I’ll Be] Lonely), the last song on the Bodyslam album Dharmajāti (2014), a song which Add Carabao helped write.

[And Eed Opakul (Add Carabao’s identical twin) has written a mind-bending poem titled, กระต่าย จันทร์ ตะวัน รัก Gradai, Jan, Dtawan, Rak (Rabbit, Moon, Sun, Love) about whether love is real or just imagined, comparing it to seeing the image of a rabbit in the markings of the moon,]

The Overpass

Finally, on the first Carabao album, in the famous song “Drunken Uncle,”  the Drunken Uncle famously drinks himself to death and dies under an overpass (one imagines a walking bridge over the traffic in Bangkok). In the sequel, ลูกลุงขี้เมา Luuk Lung Kee Mow (Child of the Drunken Uncle), done for the 25th anniversary album, there is again, in Bangkok, an overpass, this time metaphorical, that Son of the Drunken Uncle expectedly will cross from poverty and hardship over to the good life.

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The illustration was made by the author at NightCafe.com using DALL-E and the title of this article.

*[Footnote][Actually, Manohk himself may be a metaphor for a specific person, but until I can verify that tip I won’t go into it. (For a clue, read my footnotes below the translation of the song Tuk Kwai Tuey 6, and, if you can do it, read Add’s shocking “ความในใจ” notes on the album อเมริโกย “Amerigoy.”)

ความหมาย (Kwam Mai) Meaning

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

ชีวิตมีความหมายอยู่ที่มีชีวิต ความคิดมีความหมายที่ได้ทำ
Life has meaning that is up to [those] having life. Thoughts have meaning in carrying them out.
ขาวสว่างมีความหมายในมืดดำ ถ้อยคำมีความหมายในหมายความ
Bright white has meaning in the dark. Words have meaning in what you intend to say

คำถามมีความหมายอยู่ในคำตอบ คำตอบมีความหมายที่ไถ่ถาม
Questions have meaning in the answers. Answers have meaning in the query
นาทีมีความหมายในโมงยาม ครู่ยามมีความหมายเมื่อใช้เป็น
Minutes have meaning in the hours. Seconds have meaning when they are used.

* ทุกอย่างมีความหมาย อยู่ที่ใครมองเห็น
Everything has meaning depending on how someone looks at it.
ระหว่างไฟร้อนปนเย็น เร้นความหมายให้ค้นหา
As hot fire mixes with cold, [there is] hidden meaning for people to ferret out
ระหว่างรอยยิ้มและน้ำตา มีความหมายที่เข่นฆ่าความเปราะบาง
Between smiles and tears there is meaning that slays [one’s] fragility/weakness

** ฟ้ามีความหมายที่มีดวงดาว คืนหนาวมีความหมายให้คนแกร่ง
The sky has meaning in having stars. Cold nights have meaning for the strong [who can face it]
อ่อนโยนมีความหมายในรุนแรง เข้มแข็งมีความหมายด้านพ่ายแพ้
Gentleness has meaning in severity. Competition has meaning resisting loss

(Solo)

(** , *)

ชีวิตมีความหมายอยู่ที่มีชีวิต
Life has meaning, as determined by [those] having life.

ตำนานดวงดาว (Dtamnan Duang Dao) Legend of Stars

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

* กว่าจะถึงวันนี้ ผ่านเส้นทางแสนไกล
Before arriving at today, [we’ve] travelled a long road
ด้วยชีวิตและหัวใจ ผ่านข้ามคืนวันเวลา
With life and heart, crossing the days and nights of time
ไม่มีฝันใดเป็นจริง หากคนหยุดนิ่งเฉยชา
No dream comes true if people stand still, indifferently
ไม่มีฝันใดได้มา หากคนไม่กล้าท้าทาย
No dream can come if people don’t dare challenge

** เมื่อความฝันยังอยู่คนอยู่ ยังสู้ยังสู่จุดหมาย
While dreams exist, people exist. They still struggle towards their goal
คือที่โค้งรุ้งวางลาย แต่งวาดภาพสายจากปลายฟ้า
It’s at the arch of the rainbow setting out stripes, painting a line from the end of the sky

(Solo)

(* , **)

กว่าจะถึงตรงนี้ ผ่านเส้นทางแสนนาน
Before arriving right here, [we’ve] travelled a long road
จากความใฝ่ฝันวันวาน สร้างตำนานดวงดาว
From yesterday’s dreams, building a starry legend*

*Creating a “star Legend” or a “legend of the Stars” but I think “Starry Legend” works better.

อย่ากลัว (Yaa Glua) Don’t be Afraid

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

บางทีเธออาจเดียวดาย เช็ดน้ำตาที่รินไหลกับความหลัง
Maybe sometimes you are all alone, wiping the tears that flow about the past,
นับเวลาช้าๆ เพียงลำพัง หวังให้คืนมืดมนผ่านพ้นไป
slowly counting the time just by yourself, hoping you can get through the gloomy nights

เหม่อมองฝนโปรยโรยสาย บอกตัวเองไม่ตายไม่เป็นไร
Vacantly gazing at the rain coming down, telling yourself, “I’m not dead; it’s OK.”
แต่ฝนที่ตกช้ำย้ำในใจ จะหยุดลงเมื่อใดก็ไม่รู้
But the rain that falls repeatedly in your heart, when will it stop? Who knows?*

โปรดคิดถึงฉัน คิดว่าอยู่ตรงนั้นเสมอ
Please think of me. Think that I’m right there always
คิดว่าฉันยังอยู่เคียงข้างเธอ แม้เราไม่ได้เจอหน้ากัน
Think that I’m still right there beside you even if we can’t meet face to face.

จำเพลงนี้ไว้ได้ไหม ตราบมีลมหายใจยังมีฝัน
Can you just remember this: As long as [we] have breath, [we] have dreams
แม้ชีวิตคลุมครึ้มด้วยหมอกควัน คืนและวันจะผ่านไปได้
Even if life is cloudy with smog, the nights and days will go by
ยังมีเพลงของฉันปลอบขวัญเธอ
[And] you still have this song of mine to console you.

[LAST TWO SECTIONS AGAIN]

*Actually “[I/you/we] don’t know,” which I changed to “Who knows?”

ลาวเดินดิน (Lao Dern Din) Lao Walk the Land

by ยืนยง โอภากุล Yuenyong Opakul, aka แอ๊ด คาราบาว Aed Carabao
Album: กัมพูชา Kampucha (Cambodia) (1984)

The word เดินดิน in the title means “Walk the Land” and can be translated “walk” but there is a connotation of being “ordinary,” “down to earth” or “earthbound,” that is not associated with royalty, privilege, and the sky. Many people from the Isaan region of Thailand (Thailand’s North-East) share a similar culture and language with people in the neighboring country Laos. This was a poor region such that many Isaan people would migrate to Bangkok looking for work. The question of this song is when you see Isaan people sleeping at the train platform in Bangkok do you scoff or are you understanding?

เขาเป็นคนไทยแท้ แท้
They truly are Thai people
อย่าเห็นเป็นลาวเดินดิน
Don’t view them as Lao walking the land
ถึงเขาจะกินข้าวเหนียว เหนียว
Even if they eat sticky rice
เขาทำข้าวเกี่ยวเพื่อเมืองกรุง
They also grow and harvest rice for the capital
เมืองที่ยุ่งที่เหยิง
A city that is busy and chaotic
รถราก็ติดกันเป็นแถวยาว
The traffic is stuck in long rows
มีแต่ข่าวฆาตกรรม
There is nothing but news of murders
เมืองที่ทำการค้า
A city doing trade and business
มีน้ำท่าท่วมท้น
There is water flooding
อยู่เต็มถนนหนทาง
All over the roads
แต่ใจคนอ้างว้าง
But people’s hearts are lonely
สิ้นสุดการเดินทาง
At the end of their journey
ล้มตัวลงนอนที่ชานชาลา
They collapse and sleep at the [train] platform

ข้าวมันยากปากมันร้อง ร้อง
Man rice [cooked with oil] is hard to eat. They cry out, cry out
ว่าท้องมันหิวปลิวตาม ลม
that their stomach is so hungry they will blow away with the wind
ไม่ได้มาชมเมืองฟ้า ฟ้า
They didn’t come to admire the Heavenly City
แต่มาเพื่อหางานทำ
Rather, they came to find work
แสน ลำบากสักปานไหน
Who has it so difficult as this?
เหน็ดเหนื่อย กี่มากน้อย
However tired they are
จะค่อยทำ ค่อยกิน
They just keep working so they can keep eating
ขอแต่ข้าวเข้าท้อง
All they ask is for rice coming into their stomachs
น้องทางบ้านได้กินนม
And for their younger siblings to be able to drink milk
มีผ้าห่มกันลมเย็น
And have blankets to protect them from the cold
ใครจะฮู้ใครจะเห็น
Who knows, who sees [who understands]?*
ทำไมอีสาน กระเซ็น
How come Isaan people don’t speak [Thai] perfectly?*
ล้มตัวลงนอนที่ชานชาลา
Falling asleep all over the [train] platform

ข้าวมันยากปากมันร้อง ร้อง
Man rice [cooked with oil] is hard to eat. They cry out, cry out
ว่าท้องมันหิวปลิวตาม ลม
that their stomach is so hungry they will blow away with the wind
ไม่ได้มาชมเมืองฟ้า ฟ้า
They didn’t come to admire the Heavenly City
แต่มาเพื่อหางานทำ
But to find work
แสน ลำบากสักปานไหน
Who has it so difficult as this?
เหน็ดเหนื่อย กี่มากน้อย
However tired they are
จะค่อยทำ ค่อยกิน
They just keep working so they can keep eating
ขอแต่ข้าวเข้าท้อง
All they ask is for rice to enter their stomachs
น้องทางบ้านได้กินนม
And for their younger siblings to be able to drink milk
มีผ้าห่มกันลมเย็น
And have blankets to protect them from the cold
ใครจะฮู้ใครจะเห็น
Who knows, who sees [who understands]?
ทำไมอีสาน กระเซ็น
How come Isaan people don’t speak Thai perfectly?
ล้มตัวลงนอนที่ชานชาลา
They collapse and sleep at the [train] platform
ล้มตัวลงนอนที่ชานชาลา
They collapse and sleep at the [train] platform
ล้มตัวลงนอนที่ชานชาลา
They collapse and sleep at the [train] platform
ล้มตัวลงนอนที่ชานชาลา
They collapse and sleep at the [train] platform
ล้มตัวลงนอนที่ชานชาลา
They collapse and sleep at the [train] platform

*From other Carabao songs, like นางงามตู้กระจก, we expect the line “ใครจะรู้ ใครจะเห็น,” meaning “Who knows, who sees” that is, who sympathizes. Here the word ฮู้ replaces รู้. The word “ฮู้” (hoo) means “รู้” (roo) and is Issan dialect. So the “Who knows and who sees” question [meaning who empathizes with the difficulties of the Issan people] uses an Isaan word, and is followed by the question, “Why can’t they speak perfect Thai?”

สนั่นป่า Sanan Ba (The Loud Forest)

Lyrics and Melody by แอ๊ด คาราบาว Add Carabao
Album: โนพลอมแพลม No Problem

New Music Video (2022) made with ฅนหลงป่า (People Lost in the Forest), which is either a TV show or an off-roading club:

Original song (1990):

This song was written in 1990, for Add Carabao’s album No Problem. But I only just learned of it through a more recent music video, illustrated with recent scenes depicting recent scandals. I was shocked to learn the song had been written so long ago because it seems to describe current events. Note the line, รู้เต็มอกว่าโลกมันร้อน “Everyone is fully aware the world is getting hot,” in 1990! Yes, in Thailand, which is near the equator, there has never been any serious doubt about global warming.

ฅนหลงป่า (People Lost in the Forest) or (People in Love with the Forest) is an Off-road Club

ทำไมคน ยังโค่นป่าต่อไป
Why do people always cut down the forest?
ทำไมใครไม่ห้ามปรามสักที
Why doesn’t anyone ever stop them or dissuade them?
ทำไมกันทุกวันจึงเป็นอย่างนี้
Why does it always have to be like this?
ทำไงดี ชาวบ้านเป็นแพะรับบาป
What should we do? The villagers are the scapegoats
เสียงสนั่นป่าลั่นครืนครืน
The loud voice of the forest shouts wildly
ล้มทั้งยืนนั้นคือต้นไม้
Felling everything that stands, which are the trees.
เสียงสนั่นป่าลั่นต่อไป
The loud voice of the forest shouts on
ป่ายิ่งตายแต่ใครยิ่งโต
The more the forest dies, the more some people are enlarged

ทำไมคน ยังโค่นป่าต่อไป
Why do people continue to cut down the forest?
ทำไมใคร ไม่ห้ามปรามสักที
Why doesn’t anyone ever stop them or dissuade them?
ทำไมกัน ทุกวันจึงเป็นอย่างนี้
Why does it always have to be like this?
ทำไงดี ชาวบ้านเป็นแพะรับบาป
What should we do? The villagers are the scapegoats

แล้วเจ้าเขื่อน เจ้ากรรมเจ้าเวร
And you Mr. Dam [referring to a dam], Mr. Sin, Mr. Misfortune
ใครประเคน เข้าใส่ป่าเขา
Who offered this wonderful gift, putting [you] in the forests and mountains?*
ไม้ก็หมดแม่น้ำก็เน่า
The trees are gone, the river is spoiled
ความโง่เขลาของใครกันแน่
The foolishness of some people, for sure!
พอเสียทีเถิดพอเสียที
Enough is enough!
พอเสียทีเถิดพอเสียที
Enough is enough!
พอเสียทีเถิดพอเสียที
Enough is enough!
พอเสียทีพอเสียทีเถิด
Enough is enough!

รู้เต็มอกว่าโลกมันร้อน
Everyone is fully aware the world is hot
ยังมัวนอนติดแอร์ติดแอร์
[and] are still obsessed with sleeping with air conditioning
เกาไม่ถูกที่คันไม่แก้
This little scratch [at the problem] isn’t appropriate. This scratch won’t fix it.
นอนติดแอร์กินกระแสไฟ
Sleeping with air conditioning eats up electricity

ฝนไม่ตก
The rain doesn’t fall
เพราะโลกมันแล้ง
Because the world is in drought
ลมพัดแรง
The wind blows strongly
เพราะเขามันโล้น
Because the mountains are bald
ไม้มันหมด
The trees are gone
เพราะน้ำมือคน
Because of people’s handiwork
ผลิตผลอุตสาหกรรม
The products of industry

พอเสียทีเถิดพอเสียที
Enough is enough!
พอเสียทีเถิดพอเสียที
Enough is enough!
พอเสียทีเถิดพอเสียที
Enough is enough!
พอเสียทีพอเสียทีเถิด
Enough! Enough!

*The word “ประเคน” is the way you hand something to a monk, like offering a gift. This adds sarcasim, like, “Who offered this wonderful gift to us?”

จันทร์เจ้าขา Jan Jao Ka (Hey, Mr. Moon)

by ยืนยง โอภากุล Yuenyong Opakul, aka แอ๊ด คาราบาว Aed Carabao [presumably, as it was on his solo album]
Album: กัมพูชา Kampucha (Cambodia) (1984)

Like the Carabao song “Summer Hill,” the lyrics of this song relate to a famous Thai lullaby, จันทร์เจ้า Mr. Moon, in which someone asks the Moon for a number of things for the child they are taking care of. I post the lullaby with translation after the translated Add Carabao song.

ฉันเหมือนนกบาดเจ็บ ที่บินหลงฟากฟ้า
I’m like an injured bird that flies lost in the sky
เมฆดำมืดมิดหนาตา มองหาหนทางไม่มี
The clouds are thick and dark. I look for some place [to land] and there isn’t any
คนจนก็คือคนจน ขัดสนชั่วนาตาปี
Poor people are poor people. Lacking [things] endlessly.
ความรู้พื้นฐานไม่ดี อาหารจะกินไม่มี
[My] knowledge and foundations aren’t good. The food [I] would like to eat, [I] don’t have
จึงเป็นอย่างนี้ชั่วกัปชั่วกัลป์
And so it’s been like this for an eternity

จันทร์เจ้าขา อาหารไม่พอ
Mr. Moon, my food isn’t enough
ครูกับหมอ บ้านฉันไม่มี
I don’t have teachers or doctors
จันทร์เจ้าขาช่วยฉันสักที แก้วแหวนมณี
Mr. Moon, please help me. A ring with gems
ฉันไม่ต้องการ
I don’t need

ขออาหารพอกินก็พอ ครูกับหมอสักคนดี ๆ
All I ask for is enough food, and one good teacher and doctor
จันทร์เจ้าขา ช่วยฉันสักที แก้วแหวนมณี
Mr. Moon, Please help me! A ring with gems
ฉันไม่ต้องการ
I don’t need.

[Whole thing 2X, then ends with last line many times “A ring with gems, I don’t need.”]

*Approximate translation of the lullaby จันทร์เจ้า Mr. Moon

จันทร์เอ๋ยจันทร์เจ้า ขอข้าวขอแกง
Moon, Oh Mr. Moon, I’d like rice and curry
ขอแหวนทองแดง ผูกมือน้องข้า
I’d like a copper ring to put the hand of my little one
ขอช้างขอม้า ให้น้องข้าขี่
I’d like elephant and a horse [toys] that my little one can ride
ขอเก้าอี้ ให้น้องข้านั่ง
I’d like a chair for my little one to sit in
ขอเตียงตั่ง ให้น้องข้านอน
I’d like a bed so my little one can sleep
ขอละคร ให้น้องข้าดู
I’d like a show [lakorn] for my little one to watch
ขอยายชู เลี้ยงน้องข้าเถิด
I want Grandma Choo to take care of my little one
ขอยายเกิด เลี้ยงตัวข้าเอง
I want Grandma Gert to take care of me

คนหลังเขา Kon Lang Khao (The People of Lang Khao)

by ยืนยง โอภากุล Yuenyong Opakul, aka แอ๊ด คาราบาว Add Carabao [presumably, as it was on his solo album]
Album: กัมพูชา Kampucha (Cambodia) (1984)

To learn more about the history of dam building in Thailand and the controversies surrounding it, you might want to check out this article in the Isaan Record. Interestingly, although I had not previously translated a Carabao song specifically about dam building, I  had long ago posted a link to this impressive Thai movie “ทองปาน” (“Tong Bpan”) from the 1970s, which centers around a family living in grinding poverty in the town of Chiang Khan about to be impacted (or not) by a controversial proposed dam project. It has English subtitles. I thought this movie vividly illustrates the context that Add Carabao and other songwriters must have had in mind when they wrote their Songs for Life.

ดินแดนสุดแสนไกล
In a land far, far away
กว้างใหญ่สุดสายตา
As vast and wide as the eye can see
มีความงามเหลือคณา
There is infinite beauty
คล้ายดังเป็นเมืองแมน
resembling [legendary city?] Muang Maen [Suuang?]
หมู่ปลาว่ายแหวก
Schools of fish swim
เสียงนกร้องระเริงรำ
The sounds of birds singing joyously and dancing
ขุนเขา ทะมึนดำ
The immense hulking black mountains
เสียดเมฆ อยู่เรียงราย.
Piercing the clouds in rows

มีผู้คน
There are people
อาศัยตามเชิงชายเขา
living at the base of the mountain
ทุกค่ำเช้า
Every morning
หากิน พอเลี้ยงกาย
they go out to find food, enough to nourish their bodies [they go out to make a living]
จับสัตว์
Hunting animals
หาปลา ปลูกพืชผัก
Fishing, planting vegetables
พอกันตาย
Whatever it takes/ all in it together [?]
เลาะริมชาย ธารน้ำที่เชิงภู
Sticking near the edge of the mountain and the stream at the base of the mountain.

มีใบบอกจากทางการ
There is an official letter
ให้ย้ายบ้านไปหลังเขา
Saying they have to leave their homes and go to Lang Khao [Lang Khao means “behind the mountain”]
จะสร้างเขื่อนเพื่อบรรเทา
[They] will build a dam to alleviate [a problem]
เอาน้ำใช้ยามกันดาร
[They] will take the water and use it in times of drought
ทิ้งแหล่งน้ำอันอุดม
Tossing out water plentifully
ซานซม สู่หลังเขา
With no other options, they must head towards Lang Khao
น้ำจากเขื่อน ท่วมนาเรา
The water from the dam floods our fields
บอกกล่าว ไร้คนเหลียวแล
It is announced, without anyone to tend to them

เจริญแล้ว
Prospering now!
มีเขื่อนกักเก็บกักน้ำ
The dam is holding back the water
มีสนาม กอล์ฟสวยเป็นหลักฐาน
There are mainly beautiful golf courses,
บังกะโล ใหญ่โต ทั้งบ้านพัก พนักงาน
Large bungalos, both homes to live in and for employees.
เป็นสถาน พักผ่อน ของคนเมือง
It’s a place for the rest and relaxation of the city people

สุดหลังเขา คละเคล้าด้วย น้ำตาคน
All of Lang Khao is mixed with the tears of people
ที่แสนจน ทนยาก ลำบากกาย
who are so very poor, enduring hardship, and difficulty
จะแล้งฝน ก็ทนทุกข์ นิรันดร์ไป
When there’s no rain, there is suffering eternally
คือความหมาย ที่กล่าวถึง คนหลังเขา
It’s what they say regarding the people of Lang Khao
คือความหมาย ที่กล่าวถึง คนหลังเขา
It’s what they say regarding the people of Lang Khao
คือความตาย ที่มาถึง คนหลังเขา
It’s what has come to the people of Lang Khao

กัญชา (Ganja) by Twopee Southside, feat. Add Carabao

Artist: Twopee Southside Featuring แอ๊ด คาราบาว (Add Carabao), IG, and Djtob
YouTube released: Nov 7, 2019


This rap song riffs off the early Carabao song “Ganja,” an anti-marijuana song that served as a pro-marijuana song in thin disguise. The original song “Ganja” is very evocative of the atmosphere as people sit together outside smoking under the stars, and among Carabao’s most popular songs. In more recent years, band members wrote songs apologizing for the original song “Ganja” and the band joined a successful fight to decriminalize marijuana in Thailand and legalize medical marijuana. Now there is a whole Carabao special album “Miracles of Cannabis” (2019) gathering songs from that pro-marijuana campaign (Use the “Lyrics by Album” tab to find these songs, some of which are quite good!). This song “Ganja” by rapper Twopee Southside is very tuned in to the feel of the original song “Ganja,” and also may be referencing lines and themes from famous Carabao songs in a backhanded way–an appropriate homage to the band that did an anti-marijuana song while smoking ganja themselves.

ADD: *ค่ำคืนนี้ยังมีดวงดาวเจิดจ้า
Tonight the stars looks so bright
คราบท้องฟ้ายังดูสดใส
the sky looks clear
สุดส่วนของขอบฟ้ากว้างไกล
to the end of the wide horizon
ไม่มีวันใดมืดมิดสนิทนาน………………………
There’s never a night the darkness is close for long*

Kid uh ดวงดาวยังส่องแสงแหงนหน้ามีดวงจันทร์พวกกูมารวมตัวก็ถึงเวลาที่รวมควัน
Kid uh. The stars are shining. Look up and there’s the moon. All of us get together and its time to smoke together
กู with my clique on tour มึงดูเข็มทิศละกัน
Me with my clique on tour. How about you look at a compass?
บางครั้งก็ควรคิดที่จะกลัวทำในสิ่งที่ไม่ควรทำ
Sometimes [we] should think to be afraid to do the things we shouldn’t do.
แต่แม่งเป็นประจำพอ on one แล้วมีชีวิตชีวา
But it’s just an *expletive* a regular thing. On one, let’s live it up!
นั่งอยู่กับเพื่อนเรื่องความหลังไม่คิดถึงเรื่องเวลา
Sitting and being with friends, matters behind us we don’t think of the time
Livin’ my dream ในความฝันเหมือนในหนังโฆษณา pass me the blunt the night still young มันก็คงไม่ใช่ปัญหาอะ
I’m livin’ my dream! In a dream like in a commercial. Pass me the blunt. The night’s still young. It shouldn’t be a problem.
เกิดปี 90 แต่ปี 2000 มาเลี้ยงกู
I was born in 1990, but the year 2000 came and raised me/threw me a party [it’s a pun]
ตี 3 นั่งอยู่ในสตูฯ กูยังคงใช้ตังต้องเลี้ยงดู
At 3 am, still sitting in the studio I still use money. I must raise myself up [?]
แต่แม่ง every night เกือบทุกๆ คืนอะกู live my life เหมือนไม่ยอมให้คืนอะ still got the pride
But every *expletive* night, almost every single night, I live my life, like I not willing to go back [“night” and “go back” are homonyms]
ยังมีจุดยืนอะมึงมาจากไหนมึงต้องไม่ลืมซิ so let’s smoke it
I still have a standpoint. Where’d you come from? Make sure you don’t forget. So let’s smoke it.

ADD: *ค่ำคืนนี้ยังมีดวงดาวเจิดจ้า
Tonight the stars looks so bright
คราบท้องฟ้ายังดูสดใส
the sky looks clear
สุดส่วนของขอบฟ้ากว้างไกล
to the end of the wide horizon
ไม่มีวันใดมืดมิดสนิทนาน………………………
There’s no chance darkness is very close for long*

ไฟกูมีพร้อมจุดในคืนเดือนดับ
I have a light ready. A point in the dark moonless night
สาดแสงส่องสว่างให้มันเจิดจรัส
A splash of light, lighting things lustrously
ไม่มีวันมืดมิด เงียบสงัด
There’s no chance for it to be dark and silent

ยังคงขับเคลื่อน พลังพวกกูมันเครื่องจักร
We’re still moving. The strength of our group it’s an engine
เหมือนประตูที่เปิดให้มึงเห็นแสงสว่าง
Like a door that is open so you see the bright light
กริยา วาจา ทำให้มึงกระจ่าง
Words and speech make you clear and distinct
ทั้งวรรณยุกต์ ทุกพยางค์ พวกกูแตกต่าง
Tone marks, each syllable, we’re different from each other
Rap คือยาเสพติดที่ยังคงเสพไม่มีวันสร่าง
Rap is a narcotic that remains addictive, with no chance of recovery
เลือนลาง ไม่เจือจาง พวกกูแน่น
Fading away, [but] not diluted. We’re tightly crowded together
ลื่นไหลขอแค่ผ่านน้ำพวกกูแล่น
Flowing. I only ask you pass the fuel that makes us run.
Fuck the bullshit ขอทิ้งไว้ข้างทาง
Fuck the bullshit. Throw it away by the side of the road.
อีกไม่นาน hope to see you again at Thugz mansion
Not much longer and I hope to see you again at Thugz mansion

เมื่อพระอาทิตย์ลับขอบฟ้า
When the sun drops below the horizon
เหมือนร่างกายที่อ่อนล้า
Like our bodies which are weary
สิ่งรอบตัว มันหลอกตา
Things around us fool the eyes
ความกลัว เค้าหลอกมา
Fear comes in to deceive us
จิตใจที่เปราะบาง
The heart that is fragile
สำลักควันจนปอดชา
The smoke smothers until the lungs are numb
ไม่เคยคิดจะบอกลา
I never thought I would say goodbye
ยังคงเชื่อตลอดมา
I have always believed
แสงสว่างของดวงดาว
The light of the stars
แสงสะท้อนจากดวงจันทร์
The reflected light of the moon
ควันที่ไหลผ่านน้ำ
The smoke that flows through the water
เหมือนอุปสรรค ต้องฝ่าฝัน
Like an obstacle [one] must struggle through
ใช้ไฟฉายเพื่อส่องทาง
Use a flashlight to light the path
ใช้ความคิดเพื่อเขียน rhyme
Use your thoughts to write rhymes
ล่องหน เหมือนได้ท่องเวลา
Vanish like you can time travel
ความทุกข์ก็หาย ในทันตา
Suffering disappears immediately

ชีวิตมีเกิดแก่ มีสุข มีแย่ มีหย่อนยาน
Life has birth, old age, has happiness and distress, it has laxness**
มึงอย่าท้อ ถึงคนเค้าล้อ
Don’t be downhearted, to the point that people make fun of you
ไม่มีใครแพ้ไปตลอดกาล
Nobody keeps losing forever
เพราะในเวลากลางคืนยังมีดวงดาวที่เจิดจ้า
Because in the time of night there still are stars that are bright
ถ้าล้มแล้วมึงลุกขึ้นยืน ก็คุ้มแล้วที่เกิดมา
If you fall, get up again. It’s worth being born into this world

ADD: *ค่ำคืนนี้ยังมีดวงดาวเจิดจ้า
Tonight the stars looks so bright
คราบท้องฟ้ายังดูสดใส
the sky looks clear
สุดส่วนของขอบฟ้ากว้างไกล
to the end of the wide horizon
ไม่มีวันใดมืดมิดสนิทนาน………………………
There’s no chance darkness is very close for long

*Other possible translations of this line: “There is no night when darkness is close for long” or “There is no night the complete darkness lasts for long.”

**This is a variation on a Buddhist saying as well as a variation of a refrain from a famous Carabao song “Kon La Fun.”

It’s hard to know how many of the themes and metaphors of this song purposely refer to famous Carabao songs (beyond “Ganja”), and how many are just metaphors themes and metaphors common to many to many Thai songs, but I hear echos of Carabao songs in “ชีวิตมีเกิดแก่ มีสุข มีแย่,” (Kon La Fun) “ถ้าล้มแล้วมึงลุกขึ้นยืน” (Kwam Chuea by Bodyslam featuring Add Carabao). And actually the entire last rap verse sounds like a Carabao song.