Friday, March 5, 2010
Fiji Islands Dance
I know, the title isn't exactly the most politically correct way of talking about old school tribes living off the map and off the grid. I didn't come up with the name and it's from the '70s ,so if you look past it you're getting yourself into some seriously amazing sounds from remote corners of the world.
Hypnotic chants, exotic instruments, dance songs, folk songs, "songs about work, war, love and celebration." There's over 40 songs, most under a minute long, and they're all endlessly fascinating. There are 80 second clips of a Finnish Lapland joik or 45 seconds of a Dusun bamboo stick orchestra. There's a Motilón Indian musical bow solo, using what might be the earliest known stringed instrument. Akawai women and children sing while grating cassava root, Cuna shamans chant away a young girl's fever.
The back cover describes what every song is about, like the "Cuna Puberty Celebration" that says "This male chant, the Yayganagadi tune, is accompanied by two flutes and maracas. The girl being honored remains with her family inside a specially built circular hut while the other members of the village make the fiesta." Or the "Walbiri Blooding Ceremony" which consists of "Chanting accompanied by a bull-roarer, a wooden slat attached for a string, which makes a whistling noise when whirled. During this ceremony the Walbiri, Australian Aborigines of the desert regions of Northern Territory, cover themselves with feathers using blood as an adhesive."
These songs are from a world completely unknown to me and are perhaps centuries old. But the funny thing is, is that there are so many similarities found in contemporary music. Give Eye from Boredoms one instrument, or strip Animal Collective of all their electronics, and you could have the great-great-great-great-grandchild of a Fiji dance or Tonga chorus.
You need to download this. Some of it is more interesting than enjoyable, but the majority of it is definitely both.