Changes in Action: New Technologies, Media and Transformations in Contemporary Southeast Asian Performing Arts

15th May 2017

SOAS Room G52 Francesca Billeri, Lorenzo Chiarofonte

This seminar comes from the idea of exploring the ongoing processes of modernisation of Southeast Asian oral traditions: recent diffusion of technological and mass-media is affecting traditional music repertoires and theatre performances. Despite some regional traditions remain isolated and endangered, signs of renewal, including radical reinterpretations of musical​​​​​​​​​and theatrical forms take place. As a result, patterns of change occur in musical and social functions and performing practices in Southeast Asia. The seminar will also consider the adaptation of these traditions to new contexts (museums, exhibitions etc.) and the creation of new music compositions in the West. Through a comparative and interdisciplinary perspective, the seminar aims to reinforce the binds between disciplines in order to give an overview of dynamic relationships between tradition and modernity. Specialists of different expertise and backgrounds will be invited as guest speakers and conveners to ensure that the seminar is productively organized.

Giovanni Giuriati (“La Sapienza” University of Rome): “Dynamics of Change in the Music Tradition of Southeast Asia: Some Preliminary Thoughts”

Francesca Billeri (SOAS): “Patterns of Change in Cambodian Wedding Music and Popular Theatre”

Lorenzo Chiarofonte (SOAS): “Because we like that song! Continuity and Change in the Musics of a Burmese Possession Cult Ceremony”

Ilaria Meloni (“La Sapienza” Univerity of Rome): “Show-Time” for the Sindhen, or the Time of Limbukan: New Performing Practices and Musical Repertoires in the Comic Interlude of
Yogyanese Wayang Kulit”

“Reproducing the Homeland: Music Ensembles of the Voice of Vietnam Radio”
Lonán Ó Briain (University of Nottingham)

Keynote Speech:“Tradition in Modernity: The Concept of Performing Arts in Southeast Asia”
Matthew Isaac Cohen (Royal Holloway University of London)

“Composition and Re-composition in Balinese Gender Wayang Music”
Nick Gray (SOAS)

16: 00-16:30
Gender wayang performance: “Sekar Ginotan”, “Rebong” and “Krepetan”
Nick Gray and Paula Friar
SOAS, University of London Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG
Contact Details: Francesca Billeri E-mail:; Lorenzo Chiarofonte E-mail:
May 15, 2017
SOAS, Room G52