Event Detail


Songs of the Tribes of Asia

Victoria Vorreiter
Monday, 30 May 2011
Auditorium Duke of Windsor Social Services Building
Victoria Vorreiter talks about her quest to record the tribal music and ceremonies of the peoples of the Golden Triangle in SouthEast Asia, including numerous sound clips, photos and a short video

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6.30 pm Drinks 7.30 pm Lecture HK$100 Members and HK$150 Non members

High in the mountains of the Golden Triangle, where Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar once knew no boundaries, lives a rich multiplicity of traditional peoples. Prominent among them are the Hmong, Mien, Lahu, Akha, Lisu, and Karen, six distinct groups who have maintained their independence and identity to a high degree. Each represents an extraordinary world, unique in history, language, customs, arts, religion, dress, and features. No less astounding is the diversity of their musical traditions. Living in nature and rooted in animism, these mountain peoples have developed a vast repertory of songs, sacred chants, and instrumental music that is everpresent and vital to their lives.

The keepers of the bardic tradition—the master musicians, shamans, headmen, matriarchs and patriarchs—use their rich trove of songs, legends and rites to connect people with something greater than themselves. Music, supported by ritual and formality, anchors members of a community to their lifesource. It reunites them with their ancestors and aligns them with their deities. Ceremonies and songs remind them of their origins and preserve collective memory. Music promotes a sense of communal harmony by instilling identity and belonging. Songs are the chronicles and oracles of tribal ways of life.

Ms. Victoria Vorreiter will highlight the musical traditions of these six groups using film, recordings, and images. Victoria’s life in music has taken on several forms, all in search of the heart response to melody and rhythm. Victoria is a violinist and specialist in the Suzuki Method, which has led to positions at music schools and universities in England, France, and the United States. As an active clinician and lecturer, she has been invited to give presentations at international conferences and workshops at venues in Asia, Europe, the Caribbean, Canada, and throughout the United States. Her most recent appointment was on the faculty of the School of Music at DePaul University, in Chicago, Illinois.

In 2004 Victoria relocated to Chiang Mai, Thailand, and spent the next five and a half years trekking solo to remote mountain villages in Laos, Myanmar/Burma, China and Thailand to document ancestral songs and ceremonies of the traditional peoples through film, photos, recordings and journals. In recent years she has been weaving these materials together, which are just now coming out in several dynamic forms: the “Songs of Memory" museum exhibition (first launched at the Jim Thompson Art Center in 2009, then moving to the Chiang Mai Arts and Cultural Center in 2010); two distinct photo exhibitions (“Patterns, Passages & Prayers" and “Portraits of the North"); a series of Educational Films; as well as a Songs of Memory book and CD.

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