This week music class travels to the isolated, military-ruled nation of Myanmar/Burma, which, for several decades before a recent, promising, turn of political events, was on permanent house arrest (much like the Nobel Prize-winning pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who was in that suspended state for 21 years). Life has been particularly rough in Myanmar/Burma for the last century or so (why the two names for the country? you’ll see), especially for the last fifty years since the country has been beneath the thumb of one autocratic dictator or another. Through it all the Burmese people keep hope alive that one day they may attain political freedom, even occasionally rising up in conjunction with the many Theravada Buddhist Monks who maintain a position of some respect in Burmese society. In class we’ll note that Myanmar has seen a turn of its fortunes as of late, but that there’s still a LONG way to go.
— HISTORY: Mynanmar has endured many decades of dictatorial military rule, and is still trying to figure out how to survive.
— MUSIC: …thachin gan, pat pyo, lwan chin, nat chin: yodaya, talaing than, bole, myin gin….
— LANGUAGE: In Myanmar Burmese is the basics, but there are a lot of other things going on.
— THE LIFE OF A MONK: We spend a peaceful “day in the life of a monk” in Myanmar.