Elephants + Instruments = Thai Elephant Orchestra
September 16, 2008 12:17 PM   Subscribe

The Thai Elephant Orchestra. Founded by Richard Lair and Dave Soldier [previously] at the Thai Elephant Conservation Center in Lampang, Thailand, a former logging camp. • Listen to tracks from the Elephants' two releases: Thai Elephant Orchestra (2001) and Elephonic Rhapsodies (2004) [They're the 6th and 7th albums on the page] • A New York Times Article from Dec 16, 2000 • A National Geographic segment (audio) that accompanies a larger piece (video) about the changing lives of elephants in Thailand • A full-length documentary (.mov format) • Youtubery: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 [#4 is a beautiful animation which also incorporates paintings made by the elephants at the Center.]

From a Reuters UK interview with Dave Soldier: "The elephants, they don't give a damn. They don't read the Billboard charts, they don't read the reviews. The elephants don't care. They're going to keep playing the same way that they play if you tell them they're out of tune, or if you tell them the group isn't as good now as the previous record, or you know, that the Singapore symphony does it better. They just go out there and they do it the way they hear it. They're real artists."

(Dave Soldier is the pseudonym of Dr. David Sulzer, head of the Sulzer Lab at Columbia University.)
posted by not_on_display (16 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
i'm pretty sure this has been posted before, but i'm a huge fan of the elephant orchestra, dave soldier, and soldier's label, mulatta records. on mulatta, i can personally recommend twink also here, and the most wanted/unwanted songs. and i can't recommend the kropotkins enough.
posted by msconduct at 12:32 PM on September 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

Elephants occasionally make me cry.
posted by CynicalKnight at 12:35 PM on September 16, 2008

Those flappy ears are really getting to me.
posted by bettafish at 12:47 PM on September 16, 2008

They really need to add some rhinos. You know, for the horn section.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:04 PM on September 16, 2008 [3 favorites]

Why am I only able to favorite this ONCE? This is amazing.

Maybe it's because I am admittedly TOTALLY ELEPHANT-IST.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:09 PM on September 16, 2008

i'm pretty sure this has been posted before...

Not as an FPP, but I've linked to Dave and the elephants at least 3 or 4 times (maybe more) in comments here at MeFi, most recently in a thread about whale songs. I'm delighted to see that n_o_d has featured them here today!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:55 PM on September 16, 2008

The Elephants of Samburu
posted by homunculus at 4:32 PM on September 16, 2008

They also paint.
posted by louche mustachio at 4:45 PM on September 16, 2008

This is interesting, but I greatly prefer Dave Soldier's (and Komar and Melamid's) "The Most Unwanted Song":
After gathering data about people's least favorite music and lyrical subjects, they did the unthinkable: they combined them into a single monstrosity, specifically engineered to sound unpleasant to the maximum percentage of listeners. (...)

Komar & Melamid and David Soldier's list of undesirable elements included holiday music, bagpipes, pipe organ, a children's chorus and the concept of children in general (really?), Wal-Mart, cowboys, political jingoism, George Stephanopoulos, Coca Cola, bossanova synths, banjo ferocity, harp glissandos, oompah-ing tubas and much, much more. It's actually a fascinating listen, worthwhile for the opera rapping alone.
Of course, I think they completely failed in their goal - "Therefore, it can be shown that if there is no covariance—someone who dislikes bagpipes is as likely to hate elevator music as someone who despises the organ, for example—fewer than 200 individuals of the world's total population would enjoy this piece" - because I know a bunch of people (myself included) who absolutely love it.
posted by Flunkie at 6:38 PM on September 16, 2008

Thanks for this. I hadn't realized they actually had a movie of the elephants.
posted by sleepy pete at 9:54 PM on September 16, 2008

Ah! I think I found a relephant link. The perfect player on which to listen to the orchestra's CDs...!
posted by Kronos_to_Earth at 11:02 AM on September 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

Kronos_to_Earth: "Ah! I think I found a relephant link. The perfect player on which to listen to the orchestra's CDs...!"

The (or A) perfect song to play on your perfect player.
posted by not_on_display at 11:13 AM on September 17, 2008

posted by Kronos_to_Earth at 11:25 AM on September 17, 2008

Homunculus adds yet another elephant link

Just kiddin', homunculus. I think you're great!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:15 PM on October 12, 2008

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