An April Concert

Last night at the CRK recital hall, teachers from the Payap University Music Department, performed in a fund raising concert.

Teachers included David Wilson,  Annette George, Judith Utely, Chaipruck Mekare, and Aparit Praphanwong. Featured instruments were piano, flute, picolo, viola, harp, clarinet, and cello. The program ranged from the Baroque period to the 20 th century

Tickets which cost 200 Baht, were to raise funds for students in the Payap Choir to attend the World Choir Games in Cincinnati USA in July.

The Payap Choir sings the King’s Anthem before all Payap concerts, and their rendition is spine tingling.

Chomchat Silarat

Chomchat Silarat

On Friday night, Friends of Music Making in Chiang Mai presented a piano recital by Chomchat (Palmy) Silarat, at the Santi School of Music.

This young pianist was born in November 1995.

She was the first place prize-winner in the 5th Beethoven Piano Competition in Bangkok in 2011 and so impressed the judges that she was invited to perform later this year at the prestigious Bonn International Beethoven Festival in Germany.

An exciting program included works by Bach, Beethoven, Liszt, Chopin, and Debussy.

As an encore she played a Korean pop song, which was quite beautiful and sounded vaguely familiar.

The musical talent of Thais never ceases to amaze.

The concert will be repeated on Saturday evening.



Ivan Andres Yague

Last night, The College of Music, of Payap University presented what was called a Percussion And Piano Processing Recotal at the CRK Recital Hall. The artist was Ivan Andres Yague, visiting from Spain.

The Program Notes say,

“A quadraphonic processing recital for piano and percussion instruments together with video projection.

In his live-set uses various techniques of interpretation:intutive music, concrete music and improvised composition.

In his concerts, the audience is immersed in a quadraphonic space that enhances a sweeping atmosphere.

The pieces are syncronized with dance choreography video projections and works of different visual artists, providing a show of great variety.

The show lasts about 45 minutes non-stop, and it brings the artists together to techniques and styles such as electro-acuustic, soundaet, noise, djing, repetitive music, looper and free jazz.”

 Got all that! There maybe questions later!

Ivan Andres Yague

Well, what can i say! There were a series of seemingly unrelated poor quality wierd videos playing while Ivan wandered around the stage with his Mac notebook plugging and unplugging leads. In between these distractions, he played piano, tam-tam, snare drum, maracca, vibraphone, marimba, wind processing, cymbals, timpani and base drum.

I know this type of performance is not for everybody.

It certainly wasn’t for me!


Anzac Day

Anzac Day is the 25 of April.

ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) Day is the anniversary of the landing of troops from Australia and New Zealand on the Gallipoli Peninsula, Turkey, in World War I on April 25, 1915. The bravery of all military personnel who participated in this campaign and the lives of those who died in all military actions are remembered on this day.

The ANZAC legend was born when at precisely 3:30 am on Sunday 25 April 1915, 36 lifeboats pushed off for the unknown. Australians came to Gallipoli as an untested, volunteer troop of men and left as an army. Although the Allies made no strategic gain at Gallipoli, some believe that for the first time, Australia took it’s place on the world stage as a nation. Federation had occurred in 1901.  Over 7,000 young Australians never returned.

Critics say that Anzac Day glorifies war. Most Australians however believe that it is important to remember the sacrifice of our diggers and to be grateful for the foundation of a lifestyle of freedom we now enjoy.

Throughout the nation today from capital cities to the smallest towns the sombre dawn services will give way to joyful marches.

Here in Chiang Mai, the House of Praise International Church holds it’s Annual Dawn Service at 6:00 am (well close enough). It is followed by an Aussie BarBQue with grilled snags, Vegemite, Anzac biscuits, damper & Golden Syrup etc.

“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun…and in the morning,

We will remember them”

“Lest we forget”





The Band Played Waltzing Matilda
Eric Bogle
When I was a young man I carried me pack
And I lived the free life of the rover
From the Murray’s green basin to the dusty outback
I waltzed my Matilda all over
Then in 1915 my country said: Son,
It’s time to stop rambling, there’s work to be done
So they gave me a tin hat and they gave me a gun
And they sent me away to the war

And the band played Waltzing Matilda
When the ship pulled away from the quay
And amid all the tears, flag waving and cheers
We sailed off for Gallipoli

It well I remember that terrible day
When our blood stained the sand and the water
And how in that hell they call Suvla Bay
We were butchered like lambs at the slaughter
Johnny Turk, he was ready, he primed himself well
He rained us with bullets, and he showered us with shell
And in five minutes flat, we were all blown to hell
He nearly blew us back home to Australia

And the band played Waltzing Matilda
When we stopped to bury our slain
Well we buried ours and the Turks buried theirs
Then it started all over again

Oh those that were living just tried to survive
In that mad world of blood, death and fire
And for ten weary weeks I kept myself alive
While around me the corpses piled higher
Then a big Turkish shell knocked me arse over head
And when I awoke in me hospital bed
And saw what it had done, I wished I was dead
I never knew there was worse things than dying

Oh no more I’ll go Waltzing Matilda
All around the green bush far and near
For to hump tent and pegs, a man needs both legs
No more waltzing Matilda for me

They collected the wounded, the crippled, the maimed
And they shipped us back home to Australia
The armless, the legless, the blind and the insane
Those proud wounded heroes of Suvla
And when the ship pulled into Circular Quay
I looked at the place where me legs used to be
And thank Christ there was no one there waiting for me
To grieve and to mourn and to pity

And the Band played Waltzing Matilda
When they carried us down the gangway
Oh nobody cheered, they just stood there and stared
Then they turned all their faces away

Now every April I sit on my porch
And I watch the parade pass before me
I see my old comrades, how proudly they march
Renewing their dreams of past glories
I see the old men all tired, stiff and worn
Those weary old heroes of a forgotten war
And the young people ask “What are they marching for?”
And I ask myself the same question

And the band plays Waltzing Matilda
And the old men still answer the call
But year after year, their numbers get fewer
Someday, no one will march there at all

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda
Who’ll come a-Waltzing Matilda with me?
And their ghosts may be heard as they march by the billabong
So who’ll come a-Waltzing Matilda with me?

Songkran Day Two

Yesterday I got brave and ventured out. I wanted to go to Central Kad Suan Kaew to buy some photo frames and get some processing done. Unfortunately both photo shops were closed. Central Kad Suan Kaew is one of Chiang Mai’s large shopping malls. It is in Huay Kaew Road and is quite close to my apartment.

I had lunch at Black Canyon (crumbed prawns with tamarind sauce) and then went outside as close to the water wars as I dared!. Here are some pictures I took.



Traditional Songkran Festival

The Songkran Festival, Thai New Year, is here. Let the water games begin! The original purpose of splashing water in the Songkran Festival was to give and request a blessing through water, not for rigorous water war.Well, times change!

Young Thais go a little crazy during  Songkran (perhaps aided by Chang beer or Thai whiskey) and arm themselves with water guns, hoses and buckets to soak anyone and everyone they see. Continue reading

Thais are Different 2

Akha Smile

Sometimes I am reminded of the reasons why I like living in Thailand.

Thais respect elders. In the West people my age are often considered “old farts”. Thai children are taught to respect their elders.Strangers young and old usually return my smile.

Many people retire here and take advantage of the positive attitude and deference that age is shown in Asia in general and Thailand in particular.

I am often addressed as “Papa” by younger people without any disrespect . The gardener at my apartment complex calls me leung (uncle), a nice way to show respect.

Thailand is a country where if you behave respectfully, politeness and general good will usually be returned. Elders in general receive the greatest of this benefit.

It worries me that the times are upon us, when the young will be closed to communication, don their headphones, drowning in their own non interactive low contact world.


City News Chiang Mai

Pim Kemasingki, the Editor of the popular English language City Life Magazine, has announced the launch of a new daily on-line news service.

Pim Kemasingki

The editor will be Austin Farrell who previously wrote for City Life. Pim says the new site which opened on 02 Apri will start small but more content will be added over the coming months.

I am sure the site will be supported and that it will make a great contribution to life here in Chiang Mai.

Have a look at it here.



Helena Aung

I belong to a group called Friends of Music Making in Chiang Mai. The group is run by Jean-Pierre (JP) Kirkland who organises regular classical music recitals in Chiang Mai.

Last night there was a recital at the Santi  Music School by a 19 year old pianist, Helena Aung. Helena was born in the UK to half Burmese/half Thai parentage. She now lives Nakon Pathom but was previously resident in Udon Thani where she attended schools there and in Laos before settling at the Music School of Mahidol University in Bangkok.She is studying for a degree in music performance.

The major work in last night’s recital was Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 8 in C minor, Op. 13, commonly known as Sonata Pathetique. To hear a musical

Helena Aung

masterpiece played played with such obvious talent was exhilarating. The Agagio movement was played with great sensitivity and was very moving. Her bright red concert dress added to the performance.


Other works by J.S. Bach, Aaron Copeland, F. Chopin and F.List made for a well balanced programme.

The recital will be repeated tonight.

There will be another recital on 27th and 28th of April featuring pianist, Chomchat (Palm) Sitarat.


Happy Songkran

Water Warfare on the moat

The Songkran Festival is almost here. The official dates are 13 to 15 April. In Chiang Mail, however it is usually celebrated for 5 days or more. It is the Thai New Year and is the most joyous festival on the Thai calendar.

In earlier times, people captured water after it had been poured over Buddha images for cleansing and then using this “blessed” water to give good fortune to elders and family by gently pouring it on the shoulder. These days young people drench each other with water. Around the moat it is open warfare using buckets of water and giant water pistols like bazookas. April is the hottest month in Thailand (temperatures can rise to over 100°F or 40°C on some days), so it brings relief to the revellers. Continue reading