Performances & Events


Buddhist Chant from Southeast Asia: Exploring Sound and Sense

December 7, 2023 | 6:00 pm

Room 2420 Central Campus Classroom Building, 1225 Geddes Ave, Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Free - no tickets required

The melodic recitation of Buddhist texts in Southeast Asia highlights a number of key aesthetic, musical, and doctrinal concepts. This interactive session makes the case that exploring rhythm, pitch, and syllabic structures with our own voices provides a critical vantage point on musical traditions from the region. Open to all, the event offers a chance to explore some of the ways in which the sonic features of Khmer, Lao, Thai, and Pali chanting practices are intertwined with the linguistic and religious contours of Theravada Buddhist societies across mainland Southeast Asia.

Presented by TRENT WALKER, Assistant Professor of Southeast Asian Studies and Thai Professor of Theravada Buddhism at the University of Michigan.

Walker works on Buddhism, literature, and music in Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. His research spans the medieval period to the present, focusing on handwritten materials—bark-paper documents, palm-leaf manuscripts, and stone inscriptions—and their performative realization in speech, chant, and song. He has long worked with Thai, Khmer, Lanna, Lao, Pali, and Sanskrit sources, and more recently with those in Tai Khün, Tai Lue, Shan, and Vietnamese. In the field of Khmer literature, he authored Until Nirvana’s Time: Buddhist Songs from Cambodia (Shambhala Publications, 2022) and co-edited a major anthology, Out of the Shadows of Angkor: Cambodian Poetry, Prose, and Performance through the Ages (University of Hawai‘i Press, 2022).

If there is anything we can do to make this event accessible to you, please contact us at [email protected]. Please be aware that advance notice is necessary as some accommodations may require more time for the university to arrange.

Presented by the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, International Institute, and Department of Asian Languages and Cultures as part of the U-M Fall 2023 Festival of Asian Music.

Discussion Free Lecture Talk Workshop Interdisciplinary Research Scholarship Central Campus

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