Water Music: Thai Elephant Orchestra

Written by  January 4, 2012
14 elephants playing a variety of drums, gongs, rattles, balafons (a West African percussion instrument) and other assorted instruments.

Water Music: Thai Elephant Orchestra 

Label: Mulatta Records

Water Music is the third and final recording of the famed Thai Elephant Orchestra. The orchestra consists of 14 elephants playing a variety of drums, gongs, rattles, balafons (a West African percussion instrument) and other assorted instruments. The only human vocals are found in a Thai prayer from a Buddhist monk, Boonyang Boonthiam, on the track “Invocation.” Occasional bleats by the elephants sound quite eerie alongside the erratic percussion noises. In places, the crashing noises of metallic objects are reminiscent of a horror or suspense film score. This elephantine music is eclectic entertainment, and has captured attention worldwide.

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Matthew Forss

Verge magazine's music columnist, Matthew Forss holds a BA in biology, MS in exercise science, and an MFA in creative writing. Since 2000, he has been writing world music reviews for Edmonton-based Inside World Music.com, while amassing a very large collection of ethnomusicological recordings from every country in the world. Matthew continues to publish music articles and cultural book reviews in various academic journals and magazines and has an acquired taste for Central Asian linguistics (Uzbek, Kazakh, and Tajik).

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