Welcome! This a fan-run website dedicated to translating the songs of Carabao, especially those of lead singer/songwriter Aed Carabao, into English. Aed Carabao’s solo work will also be covered. To the fans, that’s all I have to say. Go have fun and explore the site!
Language learners, welcome. Learn Thai by singing!
For the music lovers out there who are not yet fans, this is the greatest band you have never heard of. I want to alert you to what you have been missing. The quickest way to explain this is, imagine the Beatles has been born in Thailand and only spoke Thai. All that music, all that talent, would be enjoyed by Thais and it would inaccessible to the rest of the world. Carabao is as talented as the Beatles or any band you can name; and Aed Carabao (real name: Yuenyong Opakul) is Paul McCartney/John Lennon rolled into one. I believe he is the most talented songwriter alive. Carabao is a phenomenon as big as the Beatles, but only within Thailand. The biggest problem with this Beatles analogy is that the Beatles were a relatively short-lived phenomenon (10 years), while Carabao has been going strong for for 33 years.
Aed Carabao is probably the most prolific songwriter in the world, having written over a thousand songs. More come out each day. He writes compulsively and he only gets better with age. He writes in all styles and on every topic imaginable. No two songs are alike.
The musical genre is called “Songs for Life.” What is a song for life? Well, the best way to understand is to go sample the music. Click on “Lyrics by Theme” for an overview of common themes in Carabao songs.
The Carabao sound is accessible, mostly rock and pop, and most similar to Santana.
To find Carabao and Aed Carabao songs on YouTube search using the following words in Thai (do not search in English or you will get very bad results—mostly foreigners trying to cover the music). Cut and paste:
แอ๊ด คาราบาว (Aed Carabao)
“Carabao” is pronounced like “Carabou” but with an “ow” sound at the end. It means “water buffalo” in the Filipino dialect Tagalog. (It is not a Thai word.) Americans and other English speakers pronounce “Aed,” as “at” like the symbol @. It is customary for many Thai musicians to informally use the name of their band as their last name, thus we get the (stage) name “Aed Carabao.” Other examples include Lek Carabao, Keo Carabao, Toon Bodyslam, Sek Loso, Kan Thaitanium, BUT note that Carabao band member Thierry Mekwattana uses his own last name.[EDIT: When I started this, it seemed that “Aed” was spelled in a wide variety of ways even on albums. I went with “Aed” to match the Wikipedia spelling. However he himself consistently spells it “Add” so finally I switched over.]
Acknowledgements and Disclaimer
Unless otherwise noted, I am the translator (Ann Norman, firstname.lastname@example.org). I almost always use the program Thai2English to do the translations. Thai2English gives a word for word translation that must be combined with one’s own knowledge of the language, especially the grammar. THANK YOU TO Thai2English. All transliterations are from Thai2English.
I have had many helpers, who chose to remain anonymous. But a BIG thank you goes to two former foreign exchange students. You know who you are! Any errors (there will be many) are my own responsibility.
I have no rights to the songs or lyrics, and I offer the translations freely for use in any purpose subject to the copyright laws that apply to the lyrics in Thai. I am making no money from this.
The opinions expressed in the songs are purely those of the songwriter(s) and do not necessarily match mine. I have tried to translate the meaning faithfully. The singable-English translations/versions take a few liberties to get the lines to scan and rhyme, but are still very close translations that I hope reflect the original intentions of the songwriter.
And of course, my biggest thank you is to the band for 33 years of wonderful music.