Carabao is the most popular Thai rock group of all time. Carabao has reached cult status long ago and is now one of the most successful legendary rock groups in the world. They are compared with U2 and sometimes referred to as the ‘Rolling Stones of Asia’. Their music repertoire includes blended folk, western rock and country and various kinds of world music.
The group was formed in 1976 by university students Yuenyong Opakul (Aed) and Kirati Promsaka Na Sakon Nakhon (Keo or Khiao) who met while studying at Mapúa Institute of Technology in the Philippines. The word carabao is Tagalog (Filipino) meaning “buffalo”, a symbol of fighting, hard work, and patience. Carabao’s most popular album, Made In Thailand (เมดอินไทยแลนด์), was released in 1984 and sold over four million copies. They have now released a total of 25 official studio albums with some special albums, numerous live albums and compilations bringing the total to more than 60. The band’s latest album “25 Pee Luk Lung Khii Mao” marks their 25th anniversary. Their 30th Anniversary was celebrated in 2011 (2554) and 2012 (2555) with special events and glamorous concerts throughout the provinces in Thailand and on a World Tour 2011/2012 in Asia (Singapore, Vientiane, Tokyo), Australia (Sydney, Melbourne) and Europe (London).
To have Cha-Am as a concert venue is a real fillip for local fans. At 50 THB a ticket everyone had the chance to come. We noticed Khun Mr. Nugool Pornsomboonsiri the Cha-Am Mayor at the venue alongside several thousand others in audience. However we didn’t have the chance to ask him if he really is a fan! After a day of non – stop rain and lots of mud underfoot, we had a dry night for the concert; phew!
Cha-Am Today was privileged to have front row access thanks to the generosity of Khun Thodsapol Methajittiphun. Khun Thod is the Marketing Information Manager of the Boon Rawd Trading Company Ltd, as the Company product Singha Beer was the main event sponsors along with Pun Dee Rice. Khun Thod described the band Members as ‘gentlemen’ who make his job easy by being reliable and always on time. The concert in Cha-Am comes as the final stage performance of a series of concerts in Southern provinces. After Cha-Am the band returns to Bangkok. This is a hard working outfit and they will have performed over 50 concerts by the year’s end.
Unfortunately concerts by the band have had a reputation for some acts of aggression by the fans. However crowd safety was paramount at this concert. Prior to the show Khun Thod gave us a guarantee this concert would be safe and he wasn’t wrong. Not one sign of aggression or angst in the crowd. In fact some of the security personnel seemed a little bored; nothing to do but enjoy the music.
Yeunyong “Ad Carabao” Opakul, the front man for Carabao is the most well-known member of the band. However for me the performance on the Gibson ‘explorer’ guitar by Khun Lek was a standout. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing some of the world’s best guitarist including Eric Clapton, Hank Marvin and Carlos Santana. Khun Lek is a very relaxed and confident performer. If Carabao is to be compared with the Rolling Stones then perhaps it would be appropriate to compare him with the legendary Keith Richards. In February this year Carabao joined US guitar wizard Carlos Santana onstage for his Bangkok show in February. I’m sure that Khun Lek would have been right at home in that company.
Our thanks to Khun Thod and the sponsors for bringing this concert to Cha-Am and providing us with some insights into what makes Carabao ‘tick’. However let’s not forget the peaceful audience and the ‘weather gods’ for a rain-free evening, so that we were all able to enjoy a great night of Thai rock’n’roll.
NEXT CHA-AM SINGHA EVENT
September 28th: Asanee – Wasan, another legendary Thai Rock band!