Acoustic music Bookended shows Cover songs New release

Thai Elephant Orchestra offer us some contemplative respite

Thai Elephant Orchestra provide you with a listening experience quite different from anything we’ve ever played on the show before. You can learn more about this engaging project later on in these show notes. Richard has gone down the vinyl rabbit hole again and snapped up their only vinyl release on RSD2. That should tell you how good these “boys” are. Do we have a gender breakdown on the band? Interesting question.

The bad news is, however, that you’re going to have to listen to Richard railing on The Puppini Sisters before you get there. Jive, swing-based covers just aren’t his thing it would seem. Cue a bulging email inbox full of complaints about him. There is hope though. Jamie brings the beyond excellent Wet Leg to the show as well as Black Pistol Fire. There’s also Tobin’s Bahamas and authentic glam rock from Sheffield-based The Voltz. It’s frothy man (thanks Richie!).

This week’s playlist

  1. Wuthering Heights The Puppini Sisters
  2. Pick Your Poison Black Pistol Fire
  3. Glitterbomb The Voltz
  4. No Depression Bahamas
  5. Chaise Longue Wet Leg
  6. Gentle Monsoon Thai Elephant Orchestra
  7. No Complaints J. Hutton
  8. Heart Of Glass The Puppini Sisters

Thai Elephant Orchestra – learn more about this remarkable project

The Thai Elephant Orchestra is a musical ensemble consisting of as many as fourteen Thai elephants. It is based near Lampang in Northern Thailand. The elephants play music, essentially as conducted improvisations, on specially designed heavy-duty musical instruments. The Thai Elephant Orchestra was co-created by two extraordinary men. Elephant conservationist Richard Lair of the National Elephant Institute and the American musical artist and neuroscientist Dave Soldier. There are three CDs on the Mulatta Records label with an orchestra ranging in size from six to fourteen elephants. The orchestra currently performs for visitors at the centre.

It has been noted since ancient times that elephants seem to have an affinity for music. Performing circus elephants commonly follow musical cues. Early American circuses such as Barnum & Bailey even featured “elephant bands”.

In the 1950s, German evolutionary biologist Bernard Rensch found that elephants can distinguish 12 tones on the musical scale and remember simple melodies. Even when played on different instruments at various pitches, timbres, and meters.

3 albums deep – The Thai Elephant Orchestra

The Thai Elephant Orchestra primarily uses the Lanna Thai five-note scale. Most instruments are heavy-duty versions of traditional Thai musical instruments; additional instruments include drums and harmonica.

Their musical works are of two general types. The first type, which are on the recordings, features the elephants individually improvising. The only human interaction being cues as to when to start and stop. The other type is compositional and requires mahouts to teach or train the elephants to perform human tunes. Each elephant playing an individual note on angalungs. There is only one such piece, Chang, Chang, Chang.

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