Presentation – integrating Timorese music into workshops

Last Friday night I gave a short talk and video presentation to the Melbourne East Timorese Activity Centre in Richmond, inner-city Melbourne. This is a group of Timorese and Australian activists and Timor supporters who meet at the start of each month to hear about various initiatives and developments taking place in Timor, to eat together, and keep in touch.

As you can imagine, it is a lovely group to present to. There is a wealth of experience and knowledge in the room, and also an appreciation for all the work and initiatives that are taking place in East Timor. I decided to focus my presentation on the ways that I’d integrated the aspects of Timorese traditional music that I’d learned about during my residency – songs, instruments, stories – into some of the workshop work I was doing there. I created three new videos for this presentation, showing the gradual transition from a song or story being learned, to being integrated and then shared more widely.

I got some very warm and appreciative feedback after my presentation. Several of the Timorese people talked about how important it is that the traditional culture is maintained. However, they said, “We don’t really know how to use it in workshops like this. It’s an important way that outside visitors like Gillian and Tony can contribute and assist us. There are lots of music people in Timor, but they don’t have these skills of working with children and large groups of people.”

Here are two of the new videos I presented that night. The first one shows the integration of a traditional song into workshops – from the first time I learned it sitting on the back of a truck:

The second one shows a Musical Story-telling project I led in Lospalos, about the nearby Lake Ira-Lalaru:

The only time I visited Lake Ira-Lalaru (which is enormous), it was flooded, and the causeway that you travel across by car proved impassable. Here are a couple of photos from that day, taken through the car window:



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