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Rituals at the Erawan shrine, Bangkok

Today’s sound is from one of the world’s most fascinating cities – Bangkok, Thailand. Shaun Malone captured a field recording from the Erawan shrine, which has its own fascinating history, apparently built in 1956 on the advice of an astrologer, as part of the government-owned Erawan Hotel to eliminate the bad karma believed to be caused by laying the foundations on the wrong date.

The shrine contains a statue of Phra Phrom, the Thai representation of Mahabrahma, the ruler of the Brahma realm in Buddhist cosmology. It often features performances by dance troupes who are hired by worshippers in return for seeing their prayers answered at the shrine – as this recording captures.

Shaun writes briefly: “A recording of several ritual dances at Erawan Shrine, at the corner of a very busy and noisy intersection in central Bangkok. The BTS (skytrain) passes by during the second dance. Recorded 5 Jan 2020.”

City version:

The field recording was reimagined by Vlad Suppish, who writes of his piece:

“Before making a reimagined version of the recording I’ve watched a few videos about Erawan Shrine and its deity – Than Tao Mahaprom.

“What caught my attention is the amount of offerings to it, especially garlands. Layers upon layers of them. Also, layers of overpasses above the shrine. A spiritual sanctuary in the heart of a large and busy city.

“My version is precisely that – layers upon layers of heavily processed original recording. No external sound sources were used.

“I hope that while listening to my composition, people will get some of the virtues from Than Tao Mahaprom – kindness, mercy, sympathy and impartiality.”

Memory version: