Title: Trans-Oceanic Journeys of
Musical instruments have always accompanied seafarers as entertainment artefacts on their long sea voyages. Along the grain of politics, conquests, and economic exploits, some of these instruments have become identified today as cultural icons amongst the communities so linked to trade, mercantilism and adventure. Musical instruments can also carry phenomenally rich sources of information, becoming symbols that constitute strong cultural markers of a society, class, and racial affiliation. They can also convey special insights into how cultural practices intersect with the lives of the people through music and dance. Hence these instruments can tell us much about the history, geography, social and cultural background of a community and its way of life.
This project explores the trans-oceanic journeys of lute instruments from across the Arabian Sea to the Indian Ocean and into the Malay Sea (Lautan Melayu).
This project was co-curated with Dr Larry Francis Hilarian, ethnomusicologist and Associate Professor of Music at the Nanyang Technological University of Singapore.
1. The term Lautan Melayu was coined by Dr Larry Francis Hilarian. The map shows a hypothetical depiction of Lautan Melayu without labelling the numerous sea-lanes as Dr Hilarian posits that the region is built on a single socio-cultural unit.