Skip to Main Content Skip to Footer Toggle Navigation Menu

Event Details

Thursday, April 4, 2024 | 4:45 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Chants for Life and Death: Buddhist Music and Poetry from Early Modern Cambodia

Talk by Trent Walker, Department of Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Michigan

Cambodian writers have been composing Khmer-language poems for recitation in Buddhist ceremonies for at least four hundred years. Sung with ornate, haunting melodies, chants in this genre may take hours to perform in dusk-to-dawn ceremonies for healing the sick, remembering the dead, and consecrating sacred objects. This lecture highlights the key musical, aesthetic, and affective dimensions of the four main types of melodic Buddhist poems in Cambodia. These four genres of poems show how early modern authors wove intimate reflections on life and death into a broader doctrinal and ritual framework. 

The talk will also include live demonstrations of the complex vocal styles involved in Khmer chanting, accompanied by Professor Chuen-Fung Wong and students from the Macalester Asian Music Ensemble.

Contact: [email protected]

Audience: Alumni, Faculty, Parents and Families, Public, Staff, Students

Sponsor: Asian Studies

Listed under: Alumni Events, Art, Music, Theater, Campus Events, Front Page Events, Lectures and Speakers, Religions and Spirituality


Ruth Stricker Dayton Campus Center - John B. Davis Lecture Hall

1600 Grand Ave.

Campus Map
Get Directions