A 1983 audio-cassette of songs from the resistance has emerged from the shadows of an Australian private collection of Timor materials.
The 60 minute cassette contains resistance and traditional songs. The compilation is introduced by resistance leader Xanana Gusmao who also reads a soliloquy or poem in Portuguese.
How it came to be
The cassette was brought out of East Timor in 1983 by Senator Gordon McIntosh in whose archival collection a copy survives. McIntosh was in Timor as a member of the controversial Australian Parliamentary Delegation to the Indonesian-occupied territory in July that year. The music was given to him by one of the delegation’s Timorese transport drivers with a request that McIntosh post it to a Timorese in Australia (name forgotten). On return to Australia, he posted the original but made and kept a copy just in case original disappeared.
Below are some samples from the copied tape. The quality is unsurprisingly variable – being the product of low-quality recording, tapes and copying facilities in the mountains.
[Recording temporarily withdrawn; seeking permission from source to place on Internet. 13 January 2010 07:30 GMT]
I have posted this sample to get help to answer some questions that come to mind.:
- Is this compilation well-known and do copies exist elsewhere?
- Are some of the non-traditional songs well-known now and were they composed after the invasion?
- Were any of these songs more professionally recorded in the diaspora?
- Is this compilation of particular significance to the record of resistance?
- If significant, who/what is the best Timorese person/institution to assist to transcribe and preserve the compilation?
If you have answers to any of these questions I would be grateful for your comment on this blog (see ‘Leave a reply’ below) or an email to me at: blog[at]timorarchives.info
POSTSCRIPT [10:00 GMT]
A brief listening by a Portuguese speaker suggests that while songs dominate the recording, they may in fact be interludes to a long resistance message from Xanana to compatriots and supporters outside Timor.