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Philip Yampolsky
Unaffiliated independent scholar
Documenting Vaihoho, a Form of Sung Poetry in Southeast Asia

The documentation, through recordings and in a book, of vaihoho, a musical-poetic form of Timor-Leste.   

This is a project to document (in recordings and a book) the music, texts, performance practice, and ethnographic context of vaihoho, an endangered musico-poetic form with deep cultural significance for Fataluku-speakers in rural Timor-Leste (TL). The study will also contribute new data to discussions of Timor as a border zone for Austronesian and Papuan cultures. In addition to making new recordings, the project will repatriate to source communities a corpus of field recordings made in the 1960s by French anthropologists. These recordings plus the new ones will be deposited in the source communities and will also form the nucleus of a new national audio-visual archive for TL. This Fataluku research is the final phase of a larger project, under way since 2012, to document endangered traditions of sung poetry in Indonesian Timor and TL. The Fataluku material will be combined with comparable documentation of Tetun, Ema, and Bunaq sung poetry.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
Cultural Anthropology; Ethnomusicology; Literature, Other

Fellowships for University Teachers

Research Programs

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
12/1/2017 – 2/28/2019