Songs of Memory
Traditional Music of the Golden Triangle

Documentary films-Victoria vorreiter
 
 

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 Karen, Hmong, Iu Mien, Lahu, Akha, and Lisu, six distinct groups who have maintained their independence, identity, and worldview to a high degree.

Songs of Memory (Book and Flash Drive), in a newly released edition (2022), explores the cultural and musical foundation of each of these groups and the vital role music has played throughout the centuries. Expanded to include recently uncovered vanishing musical instruments and practices, richly illustrated with over 800 photographs, and accompanied by recordings of musicians and ceremonies rarely witnessed, this work highlights the vast range of celebratory songs, sacred chants, and instrumental music that chart the arc of life, the cycles of seasons, and the wheel of generations. (Songs of Memory Book, 248 pages. Songs of Memory Flash Drive, 78 minutes.)

Songs of Memory Liner Notes in Book, Flash Drive, and below

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Karen Hmong Mien Lahu Akha Lisu
 

Songs of Memory Flash Drive
Liner Notes to Recording

Recordings: Victoria Vorreiter 

Summary: The Songs of Memory compact disc offers a rich and varied collection of secular and sacred music of the Karen, Hmong, Iu Mien, Lahu, Akha, and Lisu people of Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and China. Cycles-of-life pieces are performed through song, leaf, mouth harp, horn, reed pipes, side flute, end flute, folk clarinet, lute, harp, zither, and bamboo beaters. Ritual chants and ceremonial instruments—shawm, drum, gong, cymbals, bell, and bamboo beater—unfold during sacred observances. (March 2009, 78 minutes)

Recording Notes: Photographs of musicians in the following recordings can be found in the related chapters.

Karen
1. Kwae free reed horns (Karen S’gaw)
Thayae and brothers, Ban La Tha, Chiang Mai Province, October 2008
2. Courting Song, accompanied by a te na ku harp (Karen S’gaw)
Suchiwan Phatthanaphraiwan, Chiang Mai, Thailand, January 2009
3. Neng Sang Ku, “thousand-verse song,” sung at the New Year to renew Karen identity (Karen Pwo)
Men’s chorus, Ban Um Da, Mae Hong Son Province, Thailand, January 2009
4. Song of Loneliness (Pa O)
Ma Tae, Don Ta Khat, Nyaungshwe Township, Taunggyi District, Shan State, Myanmar, April 2005
5. Courting Song, call-and-response verses (Karen S’gaw)
Bu Gae and Na Tii (women) and To Saa and Gem Mai (men), Ban Nam Bo Noi, Lamphun Province, Thailand,
February 2009

6. Ancestral Song, accompanied by a paplaw bamboo tube zither and whistling (Kayaw)
Mo Ee, Ban Nai Soi, Mae Hong Son Province, Thailand, December 2008

Hmong
1. Music for the New Year, Tsiab Pebcaug, played on the qeej multiple reed pipes (Hmoob Txaij)
As Loos, Ban Ta, Phongsali Province, Laos, December 2005
2. Kwv Txhiaj, ballad of longing (Hmoob Dawb)
Rhiav Lis, Ban Nam La, Luang Nam Tha Province, Laos, January 2006
3. Raj Sib Hlub, courting song played on a raj pum liv end-blown flute (Hmoob Dawb)
Nyiaj Huas Lis, Ban Samyord, Luang Nam Tha Province, Laos, December 2006
4. Kwv Txhiaj, ballad of loneliness (Hmoob Ntsuab)
Ntxhw Zeb Haam, Ban Khun Huay Mae Pao, Chiang Rai Province, Thailand, January 2009
5. Raj Sib Hlub, courting song played on a raj lev les single reed pipe (Hmoob Dawb)
Nyiaj Huas Lis, Ban Samyord, Luang Nam Tha Province, Laos, December 2006
6. Ncas Sib Hlub, courting song played on a ncas mouth harp (Hmoob Dawb)
Rhiav Lis, Ban Nam La, Luang Nam Tha Province, Laos, January 2006

Iu Mien
1. Courting Song (Iu Mien)
Yun Seng, Ban Chong Ka, Muang Sing, Luang Nam Tha Province, Laos, November 2006
2. Courting Song, played on a hao dong ngo end-blown flute (Iu Mien)
Gau Zang, Ban Chong Ka, Muang Sing, Luang Nam Tha Province, Laos, November 2006
3. Courting Song (Iu Mien)
Meui Phou, Ban Chong Ka, Muang Sing, Luang Nam Tha Province, Laos, November 2006
4. Wedding Music, played on a dzat shawm and percussion (bo lor gong; chao jae cymbals, and dzoe drum) (Iu Mien)
Nai Sheng, dzat, and male percussion ensemble, Ban Nam Thin, Phayao Province, Thailand, March 2007
5. Courting Song (Iu Mien)
Chan Hin Wuan, Ban Chong Ka, Muang Sing, Luang Nam Tha Province, Laos, November 2006
6. Sacred Chant, accompanied by ling bells, to call deities to the P’an Hung Ceremony (Iu Mien)
Yang Tung Meng, a hiu lung mien high priest, and acolytes, Ban Huay Chang Lod, Phayao Province, December 2008

Lahu
1. Courting Song, played on the naw djeulae reed pipes (Lahu Shi)
I Jan, Wan Kong Pyak Tae, Keng Tung, Shan State, Myanmar, October 2006
2. Sacred Chant, accompanied by bulo ko gong and bells, sung in the haw yeh spirit house during the New Rice Harvest
Festival, Awe Szeu Ja Poi Tay Way (Lahu Shi)
Lahu Shi male priests, Wan Kong Pyak Tae, Keng Tung, Shan State, Myanmar, October 2005

3. Courting Music, call-and-response verses between a tae lae kui end-blown flute and voice (Lahu Shi)
I Schwai, tae lae kui and voice, Wan Kong Pyak Tae, Keng Tung, Myanmar, October 2006
4. Courting Song, played on an ahta mouth harp (Lahu Shi)
Lahu Shi girl, Wan Pakha, Keng Tung, Shan State, Myanmar, January 2005
5. Courting Song, played on a teu ga lute (Lahu She Leh)
Ja Ha, Ban Ja Bo, Mae Hong Son Province, January 2009
6. Medley of Festival and Healing Music, played on the tolaemu, naw seu, and naw kuma reed pipes (Lahu She Leh)
Ja Ha, tolaemu and naw kuma, and Ja Sae, naw seu, Ban Ja Bo, Mae Hong Son Province, January 2009
7. Sacred Chant, sung in every home during the New Rice Harvest Festival, Awe Szeu Ja Poi Tay Way (Lahu Shi)
Lahu Shi male priests, Wan Kong Pyak Tae, Keng Tung, Shan State, Myanmar, October 2005

Akha
1. Hunting Rite, played on a ya ja free reed horn and ho dii bamboo beaters (Ulo Akha)
Mo Ha Mazeu, ya ja, and men’s hunting party, Ban Samaki Mai, Chiang Rai Province, Thailand, February 2009
2. Soul-calling Ceremony, chanting for a newborn and mother (Puli Hulai Akha)
Shebeu, a Puli Hulai Akha nyi pa, and acolyte, Ban Nam Mouakha, Muang Sing, Lunag Nam Tha Province, Laos,
December 2006

3. Courting Song, played on a ja eu mouth harp (Loimi Akha)
Lo La, headman, Wan Dum Mung, Keng Tung, Shan State, Myanmar, December 2006
4. Courting Song, sung at the Swing Festival (Nuqui Akha)
Gae Nu, Wan Huay Sang Gow, Phongsali Province, Myanmar, August 2005
5. Funeral Rite, chanting accompanied by a bau tang bamboo beater (Ulo Akha)
Ga La, an Ulo Akha pima, Ban Saen Jai Gow, Chiang Rai Province, Thailand, January 2009
6. Courting Song, played on a pii pa leaf (Loimi Akha)
Boo Sheu, Wan Pon Pin, Shan State, Myanmar, October 2006
7. Courting Song, relating a ‘Day in the Life’ of unmarried Akha girls, in five parts (Loimi Akha)
Miju, Keng Tung, Shan State, Myanmar, October 2007
8. Song of Loneliness, accompanied by a dheuham lute (Loimi Akha)
Ae Phiyo, voice and dheuham, Wan Dum Mung, Keng Tung, Shan State, Myanmar, December 2006

Lisu
1. Friendship Song, call-and-response verses, sung at the New Year (Sha Sha Lisu)
Ngwa A Wu and Ngwa Ma A Vu, Tao Shu Heu, Tengchong, Yunnan Province, China, February 2007
2. Courting Song, played on a djeulae bakka side flute (Sha Sha Lisu)
La Mu, Shui Cheng, Dian Tan, Yunnan Province, China, February 2007
3. Friendship Song, call-and-response verses, sung at the New Year (Sha Sha Lisu)
Mi Zai Je and Zai Ching Mui, Tao Shu Heu, Tengchong, Yunnan Province, China, February 2007
4. Courting Song, played on the pali fulu reed pipes (Lo Shi Lisu)
Jahbiri Biapah, Ban Sii Dong Yen, Chiang Mai Province, August 2007
5. Song of Lisu Identity, accompanied by a tseubeu lute, sung at the New Year (Lo Shi Lisu)
Ami leads a women’s chorus and tseubeu musician, Ban Pba Kluay, Mae Sai, Chiang Rai Province, Thailand,
January 2009

6. New Year Festival Singing and Dancing, accompanied by a tseubeu lute (Sha Sha Lisu)
Yi Zai Ching, tseubeu, and young Sha Sha Lisu men and women, Tao Shu Heu, Tengchong, Yunnan Province,
China, February 2007

Order
Songs of Memory Book and Flash Drive

Songs of Memory Recordings
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Resonance Press
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All images and information copyright © Victoria Vorreiter.
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