Songs of Memory
Newsletter 2018
If a village has no music,
how can it be called a village?
- Akha Saying
Hmong Songs of Memory
Ulo Akha Women’s Chorus
Funeral Ceremony of Village Headman
Ban Saen Jai Gow, Chiang Rai, Thailand, 2009
On the final day of a three-day funeral, a chorus of women gathers to sing age-old lamentations for Abo Tu Gaw, the revered Ulo Akha headman of Ban Saen Jai Gow, Thailand. The many verses of their dirge take hours to perform, as each verse corresponds to the rung of a ladder motif marked on a funerary board, kui der da pa. As the women ascend the ladder rung by rung through song, they guide the person’s soul to the spirit world. “Don’t take the upper path and don’t take the lower path. They lead to bad death. Take the middle path; it leads to the land of the ancestors.”
In Memoriam of Aju Jupoh
(Please see below)

Songs of Memory Project
Moves into the World
The creation of an archival project, with so many varied and interconnecting media amassed over a decade, has followed a series of cycles, much like the arc of life. It is now time for the Songs of Memory collections to move into the world. As an independent researcher, author, and curator, the intention to introduce and distribute the archives internationally has inspired massive proactivity. Please enjoy this newsletter, which highlights where the Songs project has landed this year. 

If you or your library, university, cultural center, or museum finds inspiration in this body of work – books, recordings, film, photographs, presentations, or multi-media exhibitions – please do reach out. It would be a joy and honor to share these archives with your community.
With gratitude and kind wishes, Victoria

Hmong Songs of Memory Book/Film
This work now rests on the shelves of many international institutions, homes, and bookstores.
Hmong Songs of Memory
  Graduate Student Researching Hmong Culture
Chulalonghorn University
Bangkok, Thailand
Libraries, Museums, Cultural Centers: British Library (UK), Library of Congress (US, Thailand, Jakarta), Staatsbibliothek, Ethnological Museum (Berlin, Germany); Museum of Culture (Basel, Switzerland); Ecole Francaise d'Extreme Orient (Paris, Laos, Thailand); Musee du Quai Branly (Paris); Siam Society, Thai Textile Society, MAIIAM Art Museum (Thailand); TAEC (Laos); Asia Society, Royal Geographical Society (Hong Kong); Musical Instrument Museum (Arizona); Hmong Cultural Center, Hmong Archives (Minnesota).

School of Oriental & African Studies (SOAS), Nottingham (UK); Leiden (Netherlands); Carleton (Canada); Otago (New Zealand); Guizhou Normal College (China); Chulalongkorn, Payap, Chiang Mai, Thammasat (Thailand); Harvard, Yale, Cornell, UCLA, UC Irvine, Hawaii, Wisconsin, Washington, George Washington, Arizona State, Kent State, Brigham Young, Michigan, DePaul, Bethel, Bemidji, Concordia, and Seattle Pacific Universities (USA).

Bookstores: Asia Books, White Lotus, Booksmith, Tamarind Village, MAIIAM (Thailand); Monument Books, TAEC (Laos); the Musical Instrument Museum (USA).

Hmong Villages: The Hmong Songs of Memory Book/Film has been gifted with appreciation to those who were so instrumental in making this archive possible: Hmong shamans, musicians, guides, and translators in Thailand and Laos.

Book Reviews
“Encountering either of Vorreiter’s books, Hmong Songs of Memory or her 2009 work, Songs of Memory, one cannot help but open the book and become engrossed in her artistic design as well as its amazing array of eye-catching color photos. Vorreiter, however, is not just a gifted artist who made her own photographs, audio recordings, video recordings, and book designs, but is also a skilled ethnologist with extensive musical training and a penchant for detail. The result is an unusual balance of solid ethnography presented artistically.”
Dr. Terry Miller, Ethnomusicologist
Journal of the Society for Asian Music
Asian Art Newspaper
Review: Hmong Songs of Memory Book/Film
Winter Quarter 2017
Journal of Urban Culture Research
Review: Hmong Songs of Memory
Chulalonghorn University
June 2017
If you would like to request a copy of the Hmong Songs of Memory Book/Film Please visit

It has been a thrill to share traditional Hmong culture with audiences on a whistle-stop tour to Hong Kong, Bangkok, and Chiang Mai through presentations on music, Hmong Songs of Memory, and on textiles, Hmong Threads of Life.
Asian Textiles Article
Hmong Songs of Memory Presentation
Victoria with Guests: Dr. Kjell Skyllstad
Walter and Ann Helen Unger (right), Authors
Dr. Terry and Sarah Miller, Ethnomusicologists
Siam Society
Bangkok, Thailand
Hmong Threads of Life Presentation
Asia Society
Hong Kong
Informal Northern Thai Group, Chiang Mai
9 January 2018

Siam Society, Bangkok
22 February 2018

Thai Textile Society, Bangkok
24 February 2018

Chiang Mai International Rotary Club
20 March 2018

Chiang Mai Ex-Pats Club
24 March 2018

Hong Kong Geographical Society
April 2018

Asia Society – Hong Kong
April 2018
Please enjoy some comments from audience members:
6 March 2018
Please let this letter represent my warm personal thanks to you for the tremendous gift you made to our club. The brilliant photos, the exquisite pentatonic music and the magic of those instruments, used to carry a story, convey emotion, support ritual, and sometimes just to draw the community together – for the first time I realized what a treasure the Hmong are. You pulled it all together for us in a remarkably short time and created an appetite for much more. (As a program chair, I also have to thank you for your attention to detail and your insistence on thorough preparation, the mark of a true and seasoned professional). Today I've been closing my eyes and trying to remember the sounds you shared with us. My deep gratitude.
David McPhee
Chiang Mai Expats Club
27 February 2018
Dear Victoria
To listen to two of your lectures (Hmong Songs of Memory at the Siam Society and Hmong Threads of Life at the Thai Textile Society) was a very special treat. You have a wonderful way of talking. We could really feel the love you have for the Hmong and you pulled us right into their world. There was not one dull moment. We were fascinated from the beginning to the end. And at the Textile Society there never was someone talking for such a long time and all were riveted by it. Thank you, Victoria, for these interesting and enchanting hours. All the best for your work and your life! Love,
Ann Helen and Walter Unger, Authors
Books on SE Asian Cultural
10 January 2018
Victoria, your talk was probably one of the best we ever had. Thank you,
Louis Gabaude, Director
Ecole Francaise d’Extreme Orient
Informal Northern Thai Group Lecture
(Launched in 1984)
Songs of Memory Presentations
Songs of Memory   Threads of Life   Hmong
Songs of Memory
Threads of Life
If you would like to host a Multi-media Presentation on Traditional Music or Textiles
Please contact Victoria at

From the Songs of Memory compact disc, a recording of Lahu Shi priests was featured in “Fever Dreams,” an interactive public sound installation created by composer and sound artist, John Morton, for the Odetta Gallery in Brooklyn, New York. The project highlights location recordings of vocalists from a variety of spiritual/devotional practices around the world.
Hmong Songs of Memory Chiang Mai University
Lahu Shi Priests
Sacred Chanting accompanied by bulo ko Gong and Bells
New Rice Harvest Festival, Awe Szeu Ja Poi Tay Way
Wan Kong Pyak Tae, Keng Tung, Shan State, Myanmar
October 2005

Please listen:
Lahu Shi Priests Chant - Spirit House

The Musical Instrument Museum in Scottsdale, Arizona, is highlighting two images from the Songs of Memory photograph collection for an exhibition on shamanic ceremonies.
Hmong Songs of Memory Chiang Mai University
Sip Mien Priests Perform Ritual Ling Bells
Mien P’an Hung Festival
Ban Huay Chang Lod, Phayao Province, Thailand December 2006
Shaman Rhiav Lis Chants with Ritual Rattles
Hmong Healing Ceremony, Ua Neeb
Ban Nam La, Luang Nam Tha Province, Laos
October 2015

Songs of Memory Book and CD
Traditional Music of the Golden Triangle
Akha, Lahu, Lisu, Hmong, Mien, and Karen

Final fieldwork and book layout are nearly complete for the new edition of the Songs of Memory Book, (presently out of print). The work will appear in 2019 with updated text, photographs, and compact disc.
Hmong Songs of Memory

In Memoriam
Aju Jupoh
(1964 – 2018)
It is with a heavy heart that I write of the passing of Aju Jupoh, a most wonderful friend and a knowledgeable colleague. Raised in the Ulo Akha village of Ban Saen Choeren, Thailand, Aju was respected for his dedication to safeguarding traditional Akha culture. Among his many accomplishments, Aju was director of the Association for Akha Education and Culture in Thailand; he helped develop the official orthography for the Akha language; he produced a film on Akha ceremonies; and he was a dynamic advocate for Akha human rights.

On a personal note, Aju was an inspiring collaborator, accompanying me on field trips to Laos and Thailand, and performing at the vernissage of Songs of Memory exhibitions at the East-West Center, Hawaii, the Jim Thompson Museum, Bangkok, and the Chiang Mai Arts and Cultural Center. It has been a true honor to know and to learn from Aju Jupoh.
Hmong Songs of Memory
Aju Jupoh
Ulo Akha Musician
  Aju with his family and friends
Aju Jupoh’s Entry
Songs of Memory Exhibit Guest Book
Jim Thompson Museum
April 2009
Tiq civq taevq-aer tseir xmr maq taev
One blacksmith alone cannot forge ten irons
Tiq pir taevq-ear tseir naeuq maq keq
One speaker himself cannot recite ten lines at the same time
Tseir civq ghae-awr tiq xmr teav
Ten blacksmiths forging one iron
Tseir pir ghae-awr tiq naevq keq-eu mae.
Ten Pima reciting together at one time
Tsawrjeq tsawrca daevq jeiq daevq kawv ma bi byov ir paq-aer lae jae mir nae,
Working to keep the people culture not to be lost,
Byaev yanq sir-aur pyaqyar maq byov,
Even the Dragon died, the foot print never lost,
Sang paq aqghawr sir ngae dzoeq dzaq maq byov,
Even The King die the Government still take power,
Mq maq maq byav yarzir byan ni peoq sawr lawq baw ni dawq daq jar yarq taevq-a dei-eiq.
The work you have done, even you pass away your name will be in this earth and value til
the planet broken down.
Gaeq lang heeq ma
Thank you
  Aju Jupoh
Miju Manqpov, Akha Musician

The Hmong Songs of Memory Project has thrived these past twelve years thanks to the steadfast belief of many who recognize the importance of preserving traditional, intangible culture and who support the work I have been doing to contribute to this end. I offer my profound appreciation to the following for helping the Songs of Memory project find its voice.
The Frankel Family Foundation
Leslie and David Bosch
Marsha and Philip Dowd
Golden Triangle Gallery
Jim Thompson Foundation
William Klausner
Tamarind Village
Liza Zinola
Mary Averill
Dorée Huneven
Marty Knight

The International Documentary Association (IDA) has accepted
The Music of the Golden Triangle project in its Fiscal Sponsorship Program
so that it receives non-profit status in the US.
IDA Letter of Endorsement

If the Songs of Memory project resonates with you,
please consider helping it continue.

To learn more about the Songs of Memory project
or to order the Songs of Memory materials, please visit