Punks and monks

  • Author: Dot Mason
  • Date Added: September 2019

On this Monsoon Pod, Dot Mason delves into the fascinating history of political activism in Myanmar, and the role protest music has played in Myanmar’s democratic transition.

Up until 2012, Myanmar’s military government and tight censorship laws kept a lid on its music scene, restricting the production of local talent and musicians’ exposure to foreign tunes. But music has always been part of civic life in Burma. The scene has only grown since the country began to liberalise in 2011, influenced as much by local traditions as by overseas influences.

Join host Dot Mason as she attempts to trace Myanmar’s musical history in the context of its recent experiences of political change. Has music played a role in the democratic transition? What drives budding musicians in Myanmar today?

And…what’s punk got to do with it all?

Trevor Wilson is a Visiting Fellow at the Department of Political and Social Change at the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific, and a former Australian Ambassador to Myanmar between 2000 and 2003. He has had a long and distinguished career in the Australian foreign service, and specialises in Burmese politics and foreign policy.

Zin Linn is an activist and student at the University of Yangon, and the man behind the band Angry Folks. He plays the harmonica and the guitar and is passionate about social justice.

Mark Gregory is an independent researcher who focuses on the history of protest music through the ages. He has written extensively on the tradition of workers songs and poems in colonial-era Australia, and is a strong believer in the cultural and political significance of protest music.

Feature image source: Commons

Music: Unanswered Questions by Kevin MacLeod, Puppet Society and Genocide by The Rebel Riot Band (with permission), Consumer and Declaration by Angry Folks (with permission).

Additional sound effects and ambient noise from Burma: Saffron Revolution (2007) by IBMO Movies, Bago Students’ Thangyat at Thayawaddy Prison by RFA Burmese and Street Music in Yangon by Claire Cousergue.

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

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