The Music Archive of Monash University (MAMU) welcomed an exciting new addition to its collection last week, when the Monash Arts faculty was gifted with a traditional Lao mouth organ, known as a Khaen.
The Khaen, alongside two traditional textiles (sin), were presented to Dean Professor Sharon Pickering by the Ambassador of the Lao Peoples Democratic Republic to Australia His Excellency Sisavath Inphachanh.
The event followed from a visit last year by the Lao Minister for Foreign Affairs and Monash Arts alumnus His Excellency Saleumxay Kommasith.
MAMU is extremely proud of its renowned, one-of-a-kind collection, which holds thousands of rare physical and digital items. MAMU Director and Ethnomusicology Professor Margaret Kartomi said MAMU is thrilled to add the gifts to its distinguished collection, which offer a huge scope of research opportunities for Monash music students.
“We are very grateful to the Lao Ambassador and delegation for presenting MAMU with a large bamboo khaen/mouth organ which we have added to MAMU's existing collection of medium-sized and small-sized specimens to create a complete ensemble of traditional Lao mouth organs,” Professor Kartomi said.
“We have also added the exquisite textiles from a remote part of northeastern Laos to MAMU's existing collection of textiles from other parts of the Lao PDR, which we have now curated.”