The Bosavi people number about 2000 and live in tropical rainforest just north of Mount Bosavi, an extinct volcano on the Great Papuan Plateau, in the Southern Highlands of Papua New Guinea. The colonial Australian government made first contact here in1936, but it was not until 1957 that a first census was taken. The building of an airstrip in 1964, the arrival of resident Australian evangelical missionaries in 1970, an increased government presence in the 1980s, and the development of oil and logging projects in the surrounding region in the 1990s have all intensified pressures toward major social change


The history and culture of Bosavi, and the story of the region’s encounters with the world have been chronicled since 1966 by three researchers: Edward L. Schieffelin, Bambi B. Schieffelin , and Steven Feld.


The Bosavi People’s Fund was created in 1991 to receive the royalties from Steven Feld’s CD recording Voices of the Rainforest, produced by Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart for his World Series on the Rykodisc label. This soundscape of a day in the life of Bosavi illustrates the dramatic world of rainforest musical ecology. Feld's book, Sound and Sentiment, and two more recent recordings also directly benefit the Bosavi People’s Fund. These are Rainforest Soundwalks (2001), an environmental sound collection on the EarthEar label, and a 3 CD historical anthology, Bosavi: Rainforest Music from Papua New Guinea on Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.


The Bosavi People’s Fund receives and manages these royalties through the Bosavi Digital Archive Project at the University of New Mexico Foundation, Two Woodward Ctr, 700 Lomas NE, Ste 108, Albuquerque, NM 87102, 1-505-277-4503 /1-800-UNM-FUND (866-3863),


Bosavi People’s Fund grants have supported locally defined educational and social initiatives, as well as the publication of the Bosavi-English-Tok Pisin Dictionary, both a scholarly document and an educational resource for the Bosavi community school. Bosavi People's Fund grants also benefit the Music Department of the Institute of Papua New Guinea Studies. Email:


For further information about the Bosavi People’s Fund and Bosavi Digital Archive Project contact Steven Feld at  or