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“Ancient civilizations have always acknowledged the power of music to attune their lives with nature, with others and with their own soul. In the tribes of the Golden Triangle, the ancient musical heritage continues to enchant lives today, as it has for thousands of years”. Victoria Vorreiter

The Jim Thompson Art Center is proud to present a multi-media exhibition, Songs of Memory: Traditional Music of the Golden Triangle, which explores ancestral ceremonies and life passages through sound. The music of the mountain peoples of Southeast Asia is incredibly rich and varied, and reflects the integrity, creativity, and beauty of their culture. Songs of Memory highlights this diversity by showcasing the musical heritage of six groups — Karen, Hmong, Mien, Lahu, Akha, and Lisu — through an extensive collection of their musical instruments and costumes, accompanied by photographs and video montages of traditional vocal and instrumental music in everyday and sacred settings.

American filmmaker and curator, Victoria Vorreiter, whose work is best described as creating a “cultural Noah’s Ark,” has made Chiang Mai, Thailand, her home since 2004, trekking to remote villages perched high in the mountains of Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, and China. A classical musician herself, Victoria has made it her mission to document ancestral songs and ceremonial rites that mark the passages of life — from infancy, adolescence, and adulthood to old age. "Indigenous peoples in these inaccessible hills have depended for millennia on oral tradition to transmit knowledge, history, and beliefs. How long these time-honored customs can continue, with the encroachment of 21st century technology is in doubt. The aim of my work is to record and preserve the majesty of these tribal rituals before they disappear," said Victoria.

Through astonishing photography, music recordings, and video rarely seen or heard, Victoria has captured a remarkable spectrum of traditional songs and rites for such ceremonies as: healing, baby naming, blessing the hunt, labor in the fields, thanksgiving of harvest, courting, wedding, the New Year, soul calling, ancestor worship, fertility, and funeral. This body of work, along with a complete collection of musical instruments, is designed to expose viewers to the incredible multiplicity of the peoples that share our planet, informing them of the diversity of approaches to living and building community. Though tribal rhythms and melodies from Southeast Asia may seem unfamiliar, the emotions that give voice to an Akha mother’s lullaby or a Mien family’s funerary dirge transcend cultural and ethnic boundaries.

Following the success of her previous documentary project The Music of Morocco and the Cycles of Life, with screenings at festivals and museums on three continents, including the Smithsonian Institute and the National Geographic Society, Victoria established Resonance Productions, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving ancestral songs and ceremonies of traditional peoples.

Victoria’s current archival project, Songs of Memory: Traditional Music of the Golden Triangle is pleased to include among its major donors: Marsha and Philip Dowd; The James W.H. Thompson Foundation; the Golden Triangle Gallery, Chicago; Tilleke and Gibbins International; Siam Commercial Bank; the Frankel Family Foundation; Kipling and Clark; and Alexandra and John Nichols.

Pachara Pitipanich
Exhibition Designer

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Victoria Vorreiter

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Educational Programs for the Public
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For more information please contact:
Khun Penwadee Nophaket Manont
Exhibition Coordinator
Tel : 02-612-6741, 02-219-2911
E-mail: penwadee@jimthompsonhouse.com or artcenter@jimthompsonhouse.com

Thai Silk Co.,Ltd.
Khun Sirirat Rattanakajornsakul
Public Relations
Tel : 02-762-2562
E-mail: s_sirirat@jimthompson.com