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Event Details
Event Workshop on Chanted Tales from the Highlands of PNG
Date(s) Saturday 14th February 2004
Sunday 15th February 2004
Organiser Univ of Goroka/ANU/ Univ of PNG/Institute of PNG Studies



FEBRUARY 14  15, 2004


MICHAEL MEL (University of Goroka)
ALAN RUMSEY (Australian National University)

                                    JOSEPH KETAN (University of Papua New Guinea)
                                    DON NILES (Institute of PNG Studies)

SPONSORED BY Cultura Senza Frontiere (Italy)

All Welcome      (Anyone interested in attending please contact Klinit Barry on any of the following: Phone: (675) 731 1793, Fax: (675) 732 2620, Email: )

Accommodation for interested participants is available at the Bird of Paradise at a discount price of K150/night. Other suitable accommodation places include the Lutheran Guest House and Goroka Lodge. Transport will be available to collect and drop-off participants to and from the workshop and place of accommodation.

In the Central Highlands of Papua New Guinea, including the Southern and Western Highlands and Enga Provinces, there are remarkable oral traditions of chanted tales. The chanted tales have been poetic vehicles through which peoples of the region have maintained their histories - and shared with others their knowledge of the land and people. They are also an enchanting means of community entertainment.

An interdisciplinary team of researchers from Papua New Guinea and beyond who, through various ways, have become engaged with chanted tales of the region will come to the workshop. The coordinating team is comprised of those who come from the region and have grown up with the tradition of chanted tales. Members of the team also comprise those who have spent considerable time and energy studying chanted tales and the people who have woven them in order to better appreciate the tradition and also share with others within Papua New Guinea and beyond the fascinating world of chanted tales.

The two-day workshop will be held at the University of Goroka. It will open with performances by some of the leading composer-performers of chanted-tales from the Western and Southern Highlands, followed by discussion with the performers. In these and other sessions information and ideas will be shared about the different genres of chanted tales that have been recorded, transcribed and studied by various researchers and writers. Chanted tales are a way of telling stories that make use of special intonational and/or rhythmic patterns that are different from ordinary speech. Chanted tales are not necessarily to do with ‘singing’ stories. Nor are they ‘stories’ told. It is something in between and this makes them a rather remarkable form of oral poetry. The workshop will serve as a vehicle to focus discussions on the poetry, the purposes for such an art form and other areas that have been of interest. Indigenous persons will be invited to participate in the discussions and share their knowledge and insights at the workshop. This workshop will be the launch pad for the Chanted Tales Heritage Project.


Saturday, 14 Feb.

9:00 am          Welcome by University of Goroka representative, and by Dr. Michael Mel
9:15     Performances of kang rom and tom yaya kange chanted tales by Paul Pepa and Paulus Kep, from the Melpa and Ku Waru areas of the Western Highlands Province, and discussion with the performers (in Tok Pisin, with translation as needed)
         Facilitator: Joseph Ketan

10:15             Morning tea
10:45    Performance of pikono chanted tale by Teya Hiyawi from the Duna area of the Southern Highlands Province, and discussion with the performer
         Facilitator: Nicole Haley

12:00 pm         Lunch
2:00     Discussions by Michael Mel, Joseph Ketan, Richard Alo and Ken Kendoli, of the significance of chanted tales in the past and present-day lives of PNG Highlanders
         Facilitator: Michael Mel
3:15              Afternoon tea
3:45     Discussion of the plots, characters, themes and performance practices of Melpa / Ku Waru, Duna and Huli chanted tales, by Alan Rumsey, Nicole Haley and Laurence Goldman
         Facilitator: Alan Rumsey

Sunday, 15 Feb.

10:00 am         Continued, open discussion of plots, characters, themes and performance practices.
         Facilitator: Alan Rumsey
10:45             Morning tea
11:00    Discussion of the musical aspects of chanted tales, by Don Niles and Kirsty Gillespie
         Facilitator: Don Niles

12:30    pm       Lunch
2:00     Open discussion of any and all aspects of chanted tales and their relation to other aspects of life in the Highlands
Facilitator: Michael Mel
3:15              Afternoon tea
3:30     Open discussion of the future of the CSF-sponsored PNG Chanted Tales Heritage Project, the ARC-sponsored Chanted Tales Research Project, and their relation to each other.

Facilitators:    Michael Mel and Alan Rumsey