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By | Oceania | No Comments

“Vast tracts of ocean, whether Polynesia, Micronesia or Melanesia, contain island populations that remain outside the modern world. They know about it, they may have traveled to it, they appreciate artifacts and medical help from it, but they live their daily lives much as hundreds of generations of ancestors before them, without money, electricity, phones, TV or manufactured food.” – Andrew Rayner, Reach for Paradise

The Pacific Islands have always sparked thoughts of both mystery and paradise. Until you fly from California south to New Zealand or Australia you never quite understand the vastness of the ocean that lies below – an area covering 30% of the world’s surface with more than 25,000 islands! Interestingly the Pacific Ocean got its name from the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan in 1521 who called its waters “mar pacifico” which means peaceful sea.

More Tahitian drumming

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We are back on Kaua’i, getting ready for an event in San Diego with good friend Mark Riley. It’s been great to meet Leilani Rivera Low, a wonderful hula dancer and singer who will be joining us. And I always look forward to meeting up with Tepairu Manea to learn more about the world of Tahitian drumming. If you are in Kapa’a on Saturday listen out for some beats

New Zealand – Songs from the inside

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Thanks to Bonnie for introducing us to this wonderful TV documentary from New Zealand about 4 musicians, Ruia Aperahama, Maisey Rika, Anika Moa and Warren Maxwell who take the art of songwriting into prisons. With the incredible technology we have at our finger tips today you can watch the whole series on the web – Maori TV – Songs from the inside.

In February 2014, a second series of programs started, this time Auckland prisons Paremoremo and the Auckland Region Women’s Corrections Facility were the recipients of the musical program. Joining Anika Moa this time is; Don McGlashan, Laugton Kora and Annie Crummer. Video from this series will also be available globally online.

Hawaiian Chant

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We had a great morning recording on the island of Hawai’i – we met Lokelani Dahl and she shared with us a few Hawaiian Oli (chants). The Hawaiian language was not written down until the 1820’s and so before this time there way of preserving history was through the use of songs, chants, and poems.  Read More

Tahitian drumming

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I have been learning Tahitian drumming when ever I get a chance to come to Kaua’i – and this trip I was very honoured when my teacher, Tepairu Manea invited me to play at a small craft fair event with his band. I had so much fun. The instruments played are Tahitian log drums called Tuerre (pronounced Tuelle) and a type of bass drum known as a Pahu. Can you spot the haoli (white boy)?

Kaua’i – pictures

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We are out on the beautiful island of Kaua’i working on some new recordings. Had to show you the beauty of this place – the oldest island of Hawai’i and in the centre Mount Wai’ale’ale one of the wettest places in the world – hence every thing on the island  is so lush and colourful.


Hawaiian books

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Na Pali 1One of the best books of Hawaii’s history is Shoal of Time – A history of the Hawaiian Islands written by Gavan Daws. The research that Gavan has done is incredible and he manages not to get bogged down in dates and details by telling fascinating stories that capture the stories and events of the people that have influenced the history of these amazing islands.

If you prefer novels, then try James A. Michener’s – Hawaii – a huge volume that paints an amazing picture of how the different people’s that have migrated to the islands have stamped their imprint upon the culture of the land.

Hawaiian phrase

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Hawaiian elders
Found this Hawaiian phrase – ‘IKE ‘IA NO A LOEA I KE KUAHU which translates as “An expert is recognized by the altar he builds.” The meaning behind the phrase is that “it takes a lifetime to learn and that wisdom comes with experience and time.” It also suggests that you should “Ask your elders and those who have walked before you to provide advice. They’ve already lived.”

New songs

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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 – Read More