Woman Giant | Matthias Engelke


Woman Giant | Matthias Engelke
GrDl 210 | Gruen Digital > [order]


The album WOMAN GIANT is a collaboration of Matthias Engelke with the Moradokmai Theatre Community from Thailand and combines Thai poetry of the 18th century, Thai myths and traditional Thai singing with modern electronics and sublime rhythms.




01 | Elephant song (chang, chang, chang)
02 | Mindful
03 | Chasing demon
04 | Misbehaving moon
05 | Rice and work
06 | To be treated is to be tricked
07 | Sacred repetition
08 | Hell is prior to enlightenment
09 | Giant walk
10 | Iridescent mallets
11 | Culture shock
12 | Abyss
13 | River Kwai
14 | DiDu
15 | Greeting to hardship
16 | Woman giant


16 Tracks (69′09″)



About the origin of the Thai songs and literature
by Janaprakal Chandruang


Elephant song (chang chang chang)
The song is a modern adaptation of the popular Thai Elephant Song by the famous Thai National Artist, Lady Chin Silpabanleng. Different vocal tunes and school nursery rhymes were playfully integrated in a very unprecedented way and bound by the sound of a modern rhythm.


The Moradokmai community has six guiding philosophies deriving from Buddhist doctrines. This dignified tune describes community behaviors. The lyrics encourage the listener to be mindful when dealing with other people and their unpredictabilities.


The chasing demon
Chasing after one’s own future is inevitable! This story from Thailand’s greatest literature was written by Suntorn Pooh. It tells the tale of an ugly female demon who chased after her family as it was running away from her. She is forced to decide between her own needs and the needs of her dearest boy. The necessity of letting go is the message of this drama. Suntorn Pooh (1786–1855) was a great Thai poet, as important for Thai literature as Shakespeare is for English literature. He was posthumously honored by UNESCO as a world poet.


Misbehaving moon
This very famous traditional song describes a beautiful girl who is like a full moon. In Thai culture the moon is a symbol for many significant living feelings, but especially love. The song’s touch of loneliness was the inspiration for the title “Misbehaving moon”.


Rice and work
Vocal tunes were traditionally used to make harvesting work in the rice fields more pleasant. Additional rituals were also applied throughout the harvesting season. The composition encompasses the sound of footsteps in the muddy field, where reptiles and mosquitoes also reside.


To be treated is to be tricked
The lyrics for the song were partially excerpted from a classical story written by the Thai poet Suntorn Pooh. The message is to be aware of the unpredictability of human nature. No matter how good things may appear or sound, dangers are to be expected.


Sacred repetition
The song presents another interpretation of the Elephant song.


Hell is prior to enlightenment
When you are down and out, nothing is better than finding comfort. The comfort of the divine is most effective at restoring the will and the body. The lyrics by world-famous Suntorn Pooh describe the precious wisdom of knowing how to achieve self sufficiency and become enlightened.


Culture shock
The lyrics of this song have been improvised by countless folklore singers of the Thai kingdom for many generations. The tune has been handed down to us since the golden era of Ayutthaya (16th century). The lyrics were used for different occasions and were adjusted accordingly. This lyric was widely taught in schools, especially in the central region of Thailand. The song eventually reached our community by a friend of the singer and, as times have gone by, the lyrics shifted accordingly. The song describes how new generations have deserted their roots. The message urges the adults to at least keep reciting the tune for their children, but even the adults no longer know the tune.


Greeting to hardship
The story told by this song is about Buddha’s previous life, when he was referred to as Prince Wetsandon. He had sacrificed all of his royal belongings to those who appeared in need, including his luxurious castle. With no belongings left, Wetsandon took his wife Matsi and his two children to the forest, hoping that the forest would provide for his wife and his children. This song describes how Matsi comforts herself while entering the forest, while the beautiful call of the mythical jungle bird Sarika is a greeting to the new life of hardship.


Woman giant
This story about a woman giant was written about two thousand years ago by a Buddhist priest. The story can only be found in the scriptures of Deravaj Buddhism.







by Matthias Engelke and Janaprakal Chandruang
Video by Thilo Neubacher


Sound Art Series by Gruenrekorder
Germany / 2022 / GrDl 210 / LC 09488 / GEMA / EAN 4099885139420