Maria do Carmo Morato

Dancing to the song-dance Oh Helele Le, the lyrics of which make reference to Mt Matebian: The water that springs from Mt Matebian is sacred; The Timor Leste heroes collect it day and night.
Image: David Loram
Source: Museum Victoria

I was born in Dili of parents from the region of Suai. I left Timor Leste in 1975.

In Australia I teach the younger generation Ina Lou, a song-dance from the Suai region. Ina Lou means ‘beloved mother’ and it is an offering performed for dignitaries and officials, as a ritual performance to honour loved and passed ancestors at Loron Matebian celebrations. As a child I danced Ina Lou during Se Matebian rituals at my grandparents’ graves in Suai.

Beloved Mother
We people must live in our country’s honour, dear Mother
Once we’re dead the earth will cover us
Our ears won’t be able to hear, dear Mother.
If we don’t help each other enough
Tears will flow, dear Mother…

Songs of East Timor and Oceania (translated from the Tetun)

Image Gallery

The Ina Lou being perfomed in Melbourne, 1986 Maria teaches boys and girls traditional dances