Whirlwind Sumatran tour for music academic

Monash University Adjunct Senior Research Fellow and alumna Dr Karen Thomas, Prof M Kartomi, and Ibu Roswani, Head of the Dept of English Education, Syiah Kuala University, at the entrance to the University Library, below a banner about the Award Ceremony.

Professor Margaret Kartomi of the Faculty of Arts was recently in Sumatra to deliver keynote addresses at conferences and meet with other music researchers and educators.At the Second International Conference of Uni Syiah Kuala, hosted by the Syiah Kuala University in Banda Aceh, Professor Kartomi presented her paper on the results of recent United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recognition of the Saman Gayo song-dance as an item of intangible cultural heritage. 

At the International Seminar and Festival of the Southeast Asian Malay Arts, presented by the Academy of the Performing Arts of Indonesia in Padangpanjang, West Sumatra, she presented her keynote address, ‘Mapping of Malay Culture in Sumatra’.

She participated in seminars at the University of Riau in Pekanbaru, Riau Province, one of them with Monash Adjunct Senior Research Fellow and alumna Dr Karen Thomas, on Sumatran theatre form. During this, she also met with the Rektor of the University of Riau to discuss a joint presentation with Monash on Malay music and dance in the Riau islands next year.

Finally, she met with ethnomusicologists from the Department of Ethnomusicology at the University of North Sumatra, which Professor Kartomi helped to found in 1977 in Medan.

The conferences were hosted by institutions in four Sumatran provinces, namely the Syiahkuala University in Aceh, the Indonesian Academy of the Performing Arts in Padangpanjang, West Sumatra, and the University of Riau in Riau Province. Professor Kartomi also met with music staff of the University of North Sumatra.

Her lecture tour is a partial result of the publication of her book on the music-cultures of Sumatra, entitled Musical Journeys in Sumatra, the first ever book on the subject.