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New songs

By 6. October 2012 Oceania No Comments

Creativity has no rules! As we explore new ideas with Mark Riley here on Kaua’i – we find ourselves building songs from very different beginnings. For instance some ideas have been thought through on ukelele and voice and appropriate backing and context is to be found – others start with a rhythmic foundation, allowing spontaneous new melodic structure to evolve. Here are some of the traditional rhythmic instruments I have been using to create –


The pahu drum (a drum foundational to the hula dance) is usually made from coconut wood and has a rich historical and musical legacy with deep cultural significance.  This one has a steer skin but often they use shark skin. It is played with the fingers or palm of the right hand from the sitting position. According to an article i once read at the  British museum, “Early hula was a sacred performance by men, involving dancing and the chanting of poetry. Later on it became partly a form of entertainment in which women were also allowed to dance.”



DSC00872Made from 2 different size gourds – the Ipu Heke is another foundational rhythmic instrument used in hula.






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