Tips for Singing in Thai

Singing in Thai helps one internalize the language and learn the culture, and it motivates further language learning. There is no downside. Pick a song you love (hard or easy) and sing it for your friends! Here are some tips for singing in Thai:

1) Don’t feel bad about your mistakes. Be aware that Thai people do imperfect covers of English-language songs all the time. The band itself has some imperfect English-language songs. (Singing a song 90 percent correct is way better than not trying at all.) This is how we bridge the cultural gap(s).

2) Pay attention to the tones. These are still important when singing. Sometimes the tune follows the tone to the point that it changes the tune slightly from verse to verse. Listen and imitate.

3) Think about the meaning of what you are saying. Don’t just sing sounds. This is an important tip for singing even if you are singing in your own language.

4) When singing in Thai, if a musical phrase ends early with a word that ends in like “k” or “t”, it is OK to extend the word with the sound “nnnnnn.” Thus we get the words “rak-nnnn” (love) and “chewit-nnnn” (life) at the ends of the lines of some songs.  Listen and imitate.

5) Aed Carabao has a wide range. If you can’t hit both his highest and lowest notes in a song, jump up and down octaves.

6) Guitar cords for almost any of these songs can be found by googling the title of the song in Thai, the name of the band “คาราบาว”  and  “คอร์ด” (cords).

7) If you are really into one of the Carabao songs, google to find multiple versions of it. Most of these songs are classics that have been performed and covered in many different ways.  Your cover can likewise be creative.

Come together to sing, make music
Come together to sing, make music
Sing . . . make music [under] the the spell of Carabao songs

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

— From “The Spell of Carabao Songs” from the first Carabao album, “The Drunken Uncle”