Hmong, Book, Exhibition, Film
After over a decade of carrying out fieldwork in the mountains of the Golden Triangle and weaving together the diverse media and collections in my studio, it is a great pleasure to announce, at last, the launch of the Hmong Songs of Memory Project, an integrative archives that explores traditional Hmong culture.

Hmong Songs of Memory, Hmong Threads of Life, an absorbing exhibition of photographs, film, textiles, and artifacts amassed by researcher and musician Victoria Vorreiter over many years, offers visitors the opportunity to explore the age-old music, ceremonies, and beliefs of the mountain-dwelling Hmong of Southeast Asia. The event, which marks the launch of her book and ethnographic film, Hmong Songs of Memory: Traditional Secular and Sacred Hmong Music, specially highlights collections of Hmong musical instruments and Hmong clothing representing four subgroups. Hosted by Tamarind Village, an idyllic venue in the heart of Chiang Mai’s Old City, the exhibit runs from 16 December – 30 April 2017.
Hmong Exhibition
Hmong Threads of Life
Traditional secular and Sacred Music and Textiles
If you should happen to be visiting northern Thailand to celebrate any of the various New Years (Western, Hmong, Chinese, or Thai), please do visit us at Tamarind Village. It would be a delight to guide you around the exhibition during one of our frequent curator walks.
For Exhibition details, please click here.
Book and Ethnographic Film
Hmong Songs of Memory: Traditional Secular and Sacred Music, a book of essays on Hmong culture brought to life by over 350 color photographs and accompanied by a 75-minute ethnographic film, explores the Hmong vocal and instrumental musical heritage in the context of the ancestral beliefs, traditions, and rituals that music animates. The lyrics of all vocal and instrumental pieces are cited in the film and book in both the Hmong and English languages. (2016, 281 pages)

Vivid accounts of Hmong musicians, shamans, healers, ritual specialists, headmen, and villagers reveal the primal power of secular music in celebrating the wheel of life and the celestial cycle of seasons. Sacred music is presented through the prism of a full shamanic healing ceremony and explored through such themes as “Hmong Origins,” “Shamanism,” “Spirits,” “Souls,” “Hmong Cosmology,” and “The Sacred in the Human World.”

It is hoped that the Hmong Songs of Memory Book and Film offer the reader, viewer, and listener a multi-sensory experience that inspires, while honoring ancestral Hmong culture for generations to come.
Hmong Soings of Memory
Hmong Songs of Memory book
To view a slideshow of selected spreads from the book, please click here.
To order the Hmong Songs of Memory Book and Film, please click here.
Ethnographic Film
Set against a rural backdrop of small, remote villages in northern Laos and Thailand, the Hmong Songs of Memory Ethnographic Film offers an intimate look at Hmong secular and sacred music that propels traditional daily life. Cycles-of-life pieces are performed through song, mouth harp, side-blown flute, folk clarinet, single free reed pipe, and multiple free reed pipes. Sacred chants and ritual percussion instruments unfold during a full shamanic healing ceremony. Translations appear in both the Hmong and English languages. (2016, 75 minutes)
Hmong Songs of Memory
To watch a preview of the Hmong Songs of Memory Film, please click here.
To order the Hmong Songs of Memory Book and Film, please click here.
Photographic Exhibition
A collection of over 50 photographs, taken by Victoria Vorreiter for over a decade, are on display during the Hmong Songs of Memory, Hmong Threads of Life exhibition. These images provide a window into the lives of the mountain-dwelling Hmong who maintain the traditions of their forebears—from their daily lives, rites of passage, festival gatherings, musical exchanges, to their sacred enactments.
Hmong Photos
To view a selection of photographs from the exhibition, please click here.
Asian Textiles, The Oxford Asian Textile Group, No. 65, October 2016
Hmong Threads of Life
Traditional Hmong Textiles from the Golden Triangle
By Victoria Vorreiter
Hmong Threads of Life
To read the “Hmong Threads of Life” article, please click here.
Through this book and ethnographic film, with their intimate descriptions of people and places, beliefs and activities, and through the collections of photographs, musical instruments, textiles, and artifacts, it is hoped that one begins to appreciate the wonder, integrity, wisdom, and astonishing beauty inherent in Hmong culture. Every musical piece, every person’s gaze has a unique story, one that is integrally related to the whole Hmong legacy. Passed down through generations over untold ages with little if any alterations, the distinct melodies, rhythms, and themes of secular and sacred music and the varied colors, motifs, styles, and techniques of Hmong garments serve as a living link, a time capsule that recalls the first ancestors and speaks to present generations.

Regrettably, the music, ceremonies, traditions, and textiles that harmonize the inner and outer life are vanishing as wise elders pass away and young generations adapt to an ever-changing, modern world. It is hoped, then, that the Hmong Songs of Memory archives may serve as an inheritance for the Hmong and for humanity, to remind and inspire us all.
Khaws cia rau nruab siab.
Cim tseg rau nruab plawv.
Hmoob tug cag txuj thiaj li yuav tsis pawv.

Collect and store in the center of the liver.
Remember deeply in the center of the heart.
So Hmong roots of knowledge will not disappear.

- Txiv Neeb Yaj Ceeb Vaj (Shaman Yang Cheng Vang)
The Hmong Songs of Memory Project could never have thrived these past twelve years without the steadfast belief of so many, who recognize the importance of preserving traditional, intangible culture and support the work I have been doing to contribute to this end. So, with voice out loud, I thank you all most gratefully.
I especially want to acknowledge the following for their fidelity and generosity of spirit over the course:

Marsha and Philip Dowd
Leslie and David Bosch
The Frankel Family Foundation
William Klausner
To see a full list of contributors to the Hmong Songs of Memory Project
through the Bosch Matching Grant Challenge, please click here.
The Music of the Golden Triangle Project is pleased to be
a member of the Fiscal Sponsorship Program of the
The International Documentary Association (IDA).
To read the IDA letter of recognition and a link to my project on their site, click here.
Hmong Book, Exhibition, Film
Besides relating new developments in the Songs of Memory Project, is the source for ordering the archival materials:
Books, Compact Disc, Note Cards, Poster, and Photographs.
Your purchases actively support the continuation of this archival research.

To order, please click here.