Epic Nepal

The research program "Epic Nepal: language and oral literature of western Nepal" is centered on corpora of recorded materials, beginning with recordings made in 1969 by two French scholars, the anthropologist Marc Gaborieau and the ethnomusicologist Mireille Helffer.

We have chosen to concentrate on the huḍkelī, an oral epic declaimed and sung by musicians of the tailor caste. The genre takes its name from an hourglass-shaped drum, the huḍko. A corpus of performances of these epics, beginning with seven recordings from 1969, is being archived and made available on the web. Several epics may be consulted on this site.

The program is also archiving recitations and performances of the shamanic tradition of western Nepal, and some linguistic materials.

The original program (2007-2010) was sponsored by the French National Agency for Research (ANR), category "Corpora and research tools in human and social sciences". Development of the corpora and related anthropological, linguistic, and ethnomusicological research is continuing.