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Toka Boot/The Big Jam: Making music in rural East Timor

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This article discusses a community music project in rural East Timor. Australian musician Gillian Howell lived for three months in the isolated town of Lospalos as an Asialink artist-in-residence, where she worked with local community members and visiting Australian musicians to share music and ideas, and to communicate across cultures. Three activities are described in detail: a songwriting project, a large-scale community music event and a series of informal jam sessions, particularly with respect to the context, teaching and learning models used. An evaluation of the impact of the project on participants, other community members and visiting musicians, indicated that stakeholders valued the project highly for a range of different reasons. These included fun and enjoyment, maintenance of cultural heritage, creative expression, English language learning and cross-cultural exchange. Learnings and recommendations for future similar cross-cultural collaborations include the value of integrating local music traditions with new participatory arts approaches.
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Keywords: Asialink; East Timor; artist-in-residence; collaboration; community music; cultural exchange

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: University of Melbourne 2: Deakin University

Publication date: March 29, 2012

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  • The International Journal of Community Music publishes research articles, practical discussions, timely reviews, readers' notes and special issues concerning all aspects of Community Music. The editorial board is composed of leading international scholars and practitioners spanning diverse disciplines that reflect the scope of Community Music practice and theory.
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