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»Decolonial Frequencies Festival« opens on Sunday

On 19 September 2021, the »Decolonial Frequencies« Festival, curated by meLê yamomo, will open at the Theater Ballhaus Naunynstrasse.

Familiar sounds and terrifying noises. The fleeting fragments of remembered melodies, favorite songs, the noise in our home street. We live in our sound world, it gives us orientation, feeling, and energy. Subjective, intimate – and yet the acoustic perception is the result of history, of the colonial formation. What we understand as “music”, as “beautiful”, “harmonious”, “contemporary”, as “literary”, “relevant” or “true” is formed by a history of appreciation and depreciation of sounds, practices, and bodies. Our hearing, understanding, and sound creation were shaped in long frequencies, but stubbornness creates friction, waves of resistance, and echoes of solidarity. Can these clashing interferences register or yield sonic confrontations? Can changes in hearing, understanding, and appreciation be shaped?

»Decolonial Frequencies« is a series of events over the entire 2021/22 theatre season. More than 20 artists, black perspectives, queer approaches, Asian-diasporic occupations, post-migrant traditions, and voices of color, create numerous performances, lectures, and concerts in their constructed acoustic spaces – with critical amplitude, in gyrating oscillation, and in uncontrollable interference.

Sandeep Bhagwati‘s The Sound Of Misunderstanding – Dhvanivala‘s Sonic Explorations will kick off the series that will run throughout the theatre season 2021-2022.

The autumn edition of Decolonial Frequencies will feature Ariel William Orah and Bilawa Respati‘s Gaung – Unvorherbestimmte Resonanz and a piece I am creating with Eurico Ferreira Mathias entitled, “Overtones”. Check our website for the season lineup:

Join us in listening!

When a Poet Disappears

Preview screening, in the presence of the director and followed by a debate moderated by André Iteanu, anthropologist (CNRS, EPHE) organized by the Société des Océanistes as part of the Océanistes cinema cycle, in collaboration with the International Festival of the Oceanian Documentary Film.

In the Toraja Mountains of the island of Sulawesi, Indonesia, Lumbaa is one of the last masters of ritual speech. Forced to convert to Pentecostalism, he was obliged to interrupt his oratory and ceremonial activity. Faced with the disappearance of “those who know”, a young priest, named Yans Sulo, sets off in search of ancient orality to reinvent in his own way a form of remanence. The two men meet. But it’s too late.
By telling the story of Lumbaa’s life and death, this film tells the story of a society turned upside down by the intrusion of a religion with a universalist aim. 

  • Ethnographic documentary (Sulawesi, Indonesia) by Dana Rappoport
    82 mn, 2020, production Le Miroir, Gabriel ChabanierAward-winning film at the Royal Anthropological Institute (RAI) Film Festival March 2021 (UK)
    Selected at Riga Pasaules Film Festival (Latvia) September 2021
  • Place :  Movie room | musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac, 37 Quai Branly, 75007 Paris
  • Dates:
    Saturday September 11, 2021 from 4:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

»Interferences Live« at the Museum for Communication-Berlin

Come listen to/watch Interferences: Live at the Museum für Kommunikation Berlin on 15 September.

DeCoSEAS project leader, meLê yamomo’s »Interferenzen: Koloniales Scheitern im Radio«, premiered on Deutschlandfunk Kultur Radio Art last December. After almost a year of repeated postponements due to the corona pandemic, the performance is now scheduled to be staged as part of the 100 years radio exhibition at the museum and of the Berlin Arts Week.  You can see the announcement of the event here: and more information below.

The live version will have updated scenes and will be “aired” in English. Thijs van den Geest will join meLê yamomo to perform live electronic music and trumpet. More information on the website:


This sound-performance piece listens to the interferences of radio history and colonialism. By sampling recordings of historical radio broadcasts from Germany, the Netherlands, Great Britain, and Asia, and composing them, audio interviews, electronic music as well as a live performance by trumpeter Thijs van den Geest, meLê yamomo ensounds the repetitive loop of colonialism’s failures into “Interferences: Live”.

With the help of historical radio recordings from Germany, the Netherlands, Great Britain, and Asia, the artist meLê yamomo examines how the last century of listening to the radio has adjusted our hearing to certain aesthetic and affective listening habits.

By removing technical, cultural, and psychological disturbances, we try to ensure an “unimpeded” – interference-free – transmission. Less noise through better technology – and at the same time drowning out the indigenous population through programming according to Western European standards? Is that the colonization of hearing?

yamomo composes audio interviews, historical audio recordings, electronic music, and a live performance by trumpeter Thijs van den Geest in “Interferences: Live” to set the endless loop of colonial failure to music.

The work is based on the radio play Interferenzen, which was commissioned by Deutschlandfunk Kultur as part of the focus “100 Years of Radio” 2020.

Concept, artistic and musical direction: meLê yamomo | Additional sound design and engineering: Thijs van den Geest | Performance: meLê yamomo and Thijs van den Geest | Featuring interviews with: Elizabeth “Betsy” Enriquez, Teilhard Paradela, Vincent Kuitenbrouwer, and Harry van Biessum

The performance is free, but there are limited slots because of the corona regulations so please book your tickets ahead here:

Sesi Viral #1 Biennale Jogja: “Representation and Othering”

meLê yamomo will be joining the Sesi Viral Biennale Jogja focusing on Decolonization and Art Practice/Politics as a responder. The session includes Pak Daud Tanudirjo presenting his collaborative exhibition of women, Art and technology in the Pacific, and Cosmin Costinas about his collaborative exhibition The Ancestor during Europalia Art Festival. The panel is curated by Alia Swastika and Mashur Zikri.

Citing from the Biennale Jogja website:

“The discussion topic aims to frame multiple perspectives to obtain a better understanding of activities that research the interplay between contemporary cultures growing in the Archipelago and Pacific Islands. The conversation emphasized the connections between contemporary culture and local culture. This explanation is supposed to offer a critical assessment of the state system, non-governmental social and cultural institutions’ strategies, and society’s response to this cultural encounter: especially the way in which power relations have transformed historically over time.”

You can festival the biennale website ( for registration and further information!

DeCoSEAS on Folia Magazine

We’d like to share with you an article in the University of Amsterdam magazine, Folia about DeCoSEAS. In this feature about “hidden archives” at UvA, project leaders, Barbara Titus, and meLê yamomo talk about their plans to disclose the Jaap Kunst Ethnomusicology Collection.

“Titus and Yamomo’s plans are challenging. Firstly, they have to organize the collection in a well-organized manner. Now they still maintain different order systems. Second, they want to digitize the material, which according to the researchers is a hell of a job. And third, they want to engage with colleagues from other countries who are also involved in colonial archives and with communities from Southeast Asia, so that barriers that hinder access to the archive disappear.”

Read more on the Folia website.

Dr. LaVerne de la Peña at the Mulat sa Musika ng Kultura II

DeCoSEAS Project Partner Dr. LaVerne C. de la Peña of the UP Center for Ethnmusicology will speak at the “Mulat sa Musika ng Kultura II” webinar organized by the Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology. Dr. de la Peña’s paper, “Crossing Borders – The Migration of the Mindanaon Kulintang” reflects on how the musical practice of Kulintang has become emblematic of Philippine ethnic and cultural identity among practitioners outside Mindanao. In this online lecture, Dr. de la Peña takes us down 2 streams of musical transplantation.

Date and Time: March 6, Thursday, at 3 PM (Philippine Time)


ZOOM LINK (Passcode: mumuku2k)

Postdoctoral Position: Southeast Asian Music Research


The postdoc will be part of the international and interdisciplinary project team and is supposed to:

• develop and maintain contacts with South-East Asian academic and non-academic partners
• participate in the inventory of South-East Asian archives and sound corpus preserved in France
• participate in the development of OnLine Digital Humanity Project Songs from the Thrice-blooded Land : Ritual music of the Toraja from Sulawesi (deposit of data on the platform Didomena at EHESS, computer input, working with IT specialists for the website). Develop a structure and description of archived data corresponding to the needs of the communities.
• assisting the project leaders with various tasks, such as the organization of workshops, the taking of minutes and the communication among the consortium partners.

1 position of 12 months (renewable) is open in the framework of the European project DeCoSEAS, Decolonizing South East Asian Sound Archives (2021-2024)

A Dutch-French-British research consortium, led by Barbara Titus and meLê yamomo (University of Amsterdam), has received a grant for a three-year project (2021-2024) entitled Decolonizing Southeast Asian Sound Archives (DeCoSEAS). The project renegotiates established understandings of heritage curation by disclosing three unique sound collections, located in Europe, with extremely rare music and sound from Southeast Asia (SEA). These collections have worldwide fame in terms of their quality, quantity and diversity, but are barely accessible. The project responds to the European Call “Cultural Heritage, Identities and Perspectives: Responding to Changing Societies” (CHIP).

The multidisciplinary and transnational research team encompasses expertise in ethnomusicology, sound studies, anthropology, linguistics, digital humanities (audio-visual production, digital data preservation) and theatre studies. The project’s management structure and procedures are network-based, working with partners in archives, museums, media and festivals in The Philippines, Laos, Indonesia, The Netherlands, France, the UK and Germany.

The project partners carry out four work packages (WP). They facilitate physical access to the collections for Southeast Asian stakeholders (WP1), online access for scholars, artists and stakeholders worldwide (WP2), publication channels about heritage curation for Southeast Asian stakeholders (WP3) and outreach projects for culture consumers worldwide (WP4). The WPs have been devised to interrogate the colonial patrimony of archives, to conceive a new digital curational framework, to transfer publishing and editing agencies about heritage curation to heritage stakeholders, and to democratize curatorial practices.

The postdoc will be based at the Centre Asie du Sud-Est (CASE), Aubervilliers (Campus Condorcet). He/she may conduct his/her own research parttime, research that is aligned to the DeCoSEAS aims. The intersections of the postdoc research and the project’s aims will be discussed with postdoc, project leaders and/or principal investigator in consultation. The fixed-term contract will be signed for 12 months initially (part time), renewable for 6 months.

Eligibility criteria

Applicants must hold a PhD in ethnomusicology. Proficiency in at least one vernacular language of a Southeast Asian country will be appreciated. A perfect command of French and English is required.

A successful applicant is expected to

• be able to motivate and valorise research findings,
• be a team player adapting to various professional, cultural and linguistic contexts,
• be well versed into the digital humanities environment

Particular skills encompass:
• expertise in documentary practices, online databases, common metadata formats and audio and video files, and tools for disseminating multimedia heritage on the web,
• Proficiency in the handling of data tables (Excel or Libre Office) and in employment of computer tools related to the handling and documentation of multimedia archives (images, sound, video, text, video and audio software),
• knowledge of organology of the South East Asian region and of European colonial history.

Additional comments

The application file must be in PDF format and include:
• A curriculum vitae with a list of publications
• A copy of the PhD diploma or equivalent certificate
• The “rapport de thèse” (report on the PhD defense), or, only in the case of doctorates obtained from universities that do not release such rapports de thesis itself, three letters of reference.
• A project describing postdoctoral research and activities fitting in precisely with the Decoseas project program (2 pages maximum) – in French or English.
Shortlisted candidates may be requested to provide additional materials.

Web site for additional job details