Popular music in Polynesia is a mixture of more traditional music made with indigenous instruments such as the nose flute in Tonga, and the distinctive wooden drums of the Rarotonga, and local artists creating music with contemporary instruments and rhythms, and also a blend of both.
Polynesia–Music The music of pre-colonized Polynesia was almost entirely vocal, full of chants and story-songs that interacted intimately with dance.
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Polynesian Music [Genre21294] The music of Polynesia is diverse, yet forms a coherent and easily recognisable style.
The songs are closely related to the dances and are also very important in the Polynesian life. Instruments such as the “ukulele” and the guitar give the tempo to the songs of which magic comes primarily from the sublime voices of the singers, as well as from the lyrics of love – often present in the Polynesian songs.
- Heiva : A Democratized Tiurai
- The Oral Culture
- Dance History
- Dance Styles
- Traditional Music
Before 1985, when it became theÂ Heiva I Tahiti, this famous cultural event was calledÂ Tiurai, which is a deformation of the English word “July”. Actually, theÂ TiuraiÂ was organizedÂ for the first time inÂ July 1881Â -one year after France had annexed Tahiti- by the colonial administration that was willing to celebrate Bastille Day in a somptuous way. If theÂ TiuraiÂ was quite militar for the colonists, the party that was given for locals was much more festive : games, entertainements, theÂ first singing contestÂ â€¦ but absolutly no dance, considered as obscene and abolished in 1820 by the British missionaries. In 1985 -one year after French Polynesia obtained its internal autonomy- the South Pacific Art Festival was organized in Tahiti andÂ theÂ TiuraiÂ became theÂ Heiva I Tahiti.Â Moreover, the local government instituted a gathering day on July 29th – calledÂ Hiva Vae Vae– which marks the beginning of theÂ HeivaÂ festivities.
The firstÂ himeneÂ (singings) created at early 20th century are a sort of mixture ofÂ Polynesian traditional polyphonic singingsÂ andÂ religious hymnsÂ brought by the first British missionaries. TheÂ himene tarava, theÂ himene ru’auÂ and theÂ ‘uteÂ are mainhimeneÂ types. If they have a religious aspect when sang in protestant temples, theÂ himene taravaand theÂ himene ru’auÂ take a secular form for the Heiva andÂ help to perpetuate the ma’ohi legendsÂ from which the songs’ subjects are issued. 1. TheÂ himene ru’auÂ is sangÂ acapellaÂ (without music) on aÂ slow tempoÂ by a group composed by aÂ mixed chorus and soloistsÂ sitting in semicircle, facing the chorus chief. 1. TheÂ himene taravaÂ generally gathers fromÂ 60 to 80 singersÂ from the same district or the same protestant parish. Composed by 6 to 10 different parts,himene taravaÂ is by definition ofÂ great complexityÂ : men producing bass and rhythmic tones, men and women mixing their voices to sing the text or singing in offbeat...
The pre-European Polynesian culture is by definition an oral culture that couldn’t have been transmitted from one generation to the other without the true messengers that were theÂ ‘orero. Actually, these men hadÂ to know perfectly all culture fieldsÂ and moreover they had to knowÂ howÂ to transmit their knowledge. True learned men, they also had to be orators, storytellers and even actors and singers. Moreover, they had to have a strong and untiring voice, as well as an infallible memory. Only a long education could give a goodÂ ‘oreroÂ : first of all, the student wasÂ tattooedÂ -sometimes on his whole body- what constituted a true “formatting rite”, then he was “filled with knowledge” like an empty object. Thus, when his formation was over, theÂ ‘oreroÂ had to perfectly mastel the three main points of his future function : themana, a vital power for knowledge ; theÂ pa’ari, knowledge itself and theÂ tapu, a sort of professional ethic of the‘orero.
Abolished in 1820Â by the British puritan missionaries, the Polynesian dance made a timid come back at early 20th century but kept closed in restraint during the 50 following years. The costumes only allowed to see the face, the feet and the hands ; the gestures and attitudes were fixedâ€¦ A renewal only appeared in the second half of the 20th century, but unfortunately, cultural losses were huge. OpeningÂ andÂ codificationÂ were the two words that best summarized the evolution of the Polynesian dance since the 1950′. Step by step, the pressure exercised by strong personalities like Madeleine MOUA allowed to raise interdictions and to attend a renewal of this art, deprived of any expression for long. A wave of steps and gestures seeking and codification as executed before the Europeans arrival started, but it was not easy. Since 1998,Â Heiva contestsÂ allow to conciliate these two elements promoting bothÂ creativityÂ andÂ respect of tradition. Tradition is paid tribute thanks to the...
Four type of dances are presented during the Heiva contestÂ : theÂ ote’a, theÂ aparima, theÂ hivinauÂ and thepa’o’a. 1. TheÂ ote’aÂ is the more codified of the Tahitian traditional dances. Originally it was reserved to men only but today it is also danced by women and is characterized byÂ wide and abrupt movesÂ and aÂ quick and jerky rhythm. Moreover, the huge number of dancers and their geometric disposition on the scene allow group movements that are really impressive for spectators, but does not leave much room for creation. 1. TheÂ aparimaÂ is theÂ dance of gesturesÂ par excellenceÂ : handsÂ describe a story thanks to a large scale of symbolic gestures (the sea, birds flight, voiceâ€¦). Accompanied or not by singing dancers, theÂ aparimaÂ can be danced with a vegetal costume in a daily life descriptive scene, or with beautiful cloth dresses that let you guess theÂ vahine‘s curves. 1. TheÂ hivinauÂ is the easiest and technically the less demanding of the Tahitian dances although...
The costumes are aÂ significant part of the showÂ that is given since they are a truetrademark for some groupsÂ and also receive a mark during theÂ Heiva. They also permit to carry on a strong cultural tradition, guarantor of the handicraft and of the local identity survival. Moreover, there are three different types of costumes, one for the group chief – which has to be slightly different from the dancers’ not to confuse them,Â one for the dancers and one for the musicians. The costume is also different from one dance to another : dancers will wear aÂ pareuÂ or a cloth dress for theÂ aparima,Â and a costume made of vegetals for theÂ ote’a. Click the small picture for more details. Finally, there are a lot of rules managing theÂ HeivaÂ contest which define true conventions : exclusive use of vegetal matters, hand-crafted costumes, use of the blue color only on cloth, jewelry forbiddenâ€¦
For the local traditional orchestras,Â HeivaÂ best orchestra contest has always been the end of one hard work year so as a trueÂ rostrum where one can demonstrate his talentÂ : musicians qualities, rapidity of execution, melodies originality or on the contrary tribute to old melodies, clothesâ€¦ everything is juged. Since 1998, the contest is divided into two parts : a compulsory program, and a free program. The compulsory program could be summarize like that :Â five musicians, five different instrumentsÂ andÂ five piecesÂ that must be played with the most clearness and rigor as possible. As for the free program, it privilegiatesÂ original creationÂ but also emphasizes on pieces difficulty, instruments and tones diversity. Though imported from the Cook islands, theÂ to’ereÂ -that exists inÂ three different sizes- has becomeÂ theÂ polynesian percussionÂ par excellence, perfectly integrating itself to pre-existing orchestras. Its fabrication in rosewood ortamanuÂ demands a great agili...
Early Polynesian music consisted of vocal- music made of simple to elaborate melodies and chant songs. The chant songs were an integral part of ancient Polynesian culture. Many traditional Polynesian songs are a portrayal of the region’s folklore and culture.
Oceanic music and dance, the music and dance traditions of the indigenous people of Oceania, in particular of Melanesia, Micronesia, Polynesia, New Zealand, and Australia.
French Polynesia–Music Before missionaries made their way to French Polynesia in the early 19th century, public music in French Polynesia deeply intertwined with dance to enable musicians and dancers to tell “multimedia” stories. Polynesian rhythms and dances are often a direct form of cultural and spiritual communication.
Jul 26, 2017 · Oftentimes when talking about Polynesian dance, it’s assumed that most of the dances seen being performed are hula. While hula is in fact a type of Polynesian dance, it is only one of many that are performed. Typically, the types of Polynesian dance seen being performed are from the islands of Hawaii, Tahiti, New Zealand and Samoa.