SOAS University of London

Department of Music, School of Arts

Lorenzo Chiarofonte

BA, MA (La Sapienza, Rome)
  • Teaching
  • Research


Lorenzo Chiarofonte
Lorenzo Chiarofonte
Email address:
Thesis title:
Songs for the Nats. Constructing identities and conveying meaning through hsaing waing music in Natkana Pwe Ceremonies of Central Burma
Year of Study:
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Lorenzo earned his BA in Cultural Anthropology and MA in Ethnomusicology at “La Sapienza”, University of Rome. His research interests lie in Southeast Asian music (Burma, Indonesia) and possession cults. In 2014-2015 he benefited the 1-year Darmasiswa Scholarship at the Insitut Seni Indonesia in Yogyakarta. He is currently conducting fieldwork in the cities of Yangon and Mandalay, studying Burmese music with local masters and taking part in local animist ceremonies.

PhD Research

My research focuses on the music of the Burmese hsaing waing ensemble in natkana pwes, urban and rural animist rituals in Burma (Myanmar) for the pantheon of the 37 Nats. I am particularly interested in understanding how specific hsaing melodies, rhythms, and lyrics construct the nats' identities, making the presence of these spirits tangible to the ritual participants, and supporting the dances of the possessed mediums.


  • British Forum for Ethnomusicology (BFE)
  • International Council for Traditional Music (ICTM)
  • Society for Ethnomusicology (SEM)



  • Music analysis
  • Music and meaning
  • Music and trance;
  • Performance
  • Possession and shamanism
  • Semiotic