Celebrating Music & Culture of Moana

January 12, 2008


January 1, 2008
Teresa Bright

The Breadfruit Tree

June 20, 2007


Uru (the Breadfruit Tree) was created by a compassionate king Rua-ta’ata who transformed himself into the Tree of Life to save his people from starvation by supplying a staple food. The Breadfruit Tree represents the bounty of Tahiti.

The Tahitian Choir

May 1, 2007

Tahitian Choir

A thousand miles southeast of Tahiti lies the last piece of land before the South Pole. The island of Rapa Iti . It is home to approximately 320 people of Polynesian descent. Their church music has been influenced by Christian hymns but it remains very much an ancient polyphonic music that is sung in quarter-tones. This ancient music is kept very much alive by the whole population on Rapa Iti. The music on this CD is sung by the island’s 126 voice choir. Prior to this recording, the only one found by Pascal Nabet-meyer, the ethno-musicologist who did this recording, was a wax cylinder from 1906 found in the Bishop Museum in Hawaii. This form of Polynesian music is so unique it is almost impossible to describe. There are haunting similarities to an ancient unrhymical forms of Hebrew Cantillation which date back to the Temple in Jerusalem. And there is another early singing style called heterophony found in the Western Isles of Scotland. This is truly world music.

The Art of Bobby Holcomb

April 24, 2007

Holcomb Moon

Maori Songs

March 1, 2007

Maori Songs

The Music of the Maori

March 1, 2007

The history of the Maori, like the history of Polynesian societies, is filled with war and oppression. Before the entrance of European diseases, the greatest problem was over-population. The consequent needs for territorial expansion brought extensive warfare. This warfare is reflected in some of the energetic posturing dances performed by the Maori. Much of the traditional music of the Maori is sung in a style of declamation that lies between speech and song. This style is known as heightened speech. A typical haka performance involves a leader who calls out the main words in a raised pitch, followed by a responding chorus. Vocal sounds and various body percussions such as stamping feet, clapping hands, and slapping thighs help to maintain the rhythm. The concept of whakaeke – strict rhythm and a proper vocal unison – is very important to the correct performance of Maori music. Such concern is not merely a matter of aesthetics, because for the Maori to break the continuity of a song is to invite death or disaster. This is equally true in the more melodic waiata songs and in such reciting chants as the patere. The patere are of particular importance for they often deal with the history of the tribe or some personal genealogy. Chants concerning such matters may appear throughout Oceania, for the individual’s place in the social and political structure of the entire society is largely determined bdy the family tree. In these preliterate societies, genealogical chants are the best way of keeping track of such complicated information. Thus, insistence on accuracy in the rendition of such chants and seriousness of musical training are important for the social position as well as for the safety of the performer from potential supernaural harm. Maori songs concentrate on a reciting tone called the oro. In the genealogical chants and similar forms of tribal historical chants, this tone is surrounded by tones of indeterminate pitch so that no specific scale system emerges. Even the more melodic styles that use specific, accurately sung notes may employ only three or four tones and use an iterative or progressive form. However, it should be noted that such limited melodies serve primarily as memory aids in presenting the words. Such songs are listened to for the information they contain more than for a musically aesthetic effect. Because of the heavy word-orientation of such music, many songs are without meter or are heterometric, shifting accent to keep in step with the text.

Moana Maniapoto

February 1, 2007


Maori musical elements and contemporary western grooves. In the 1990s, Moana & the Moahunters stamped their mark across the NZ music scene, releasing 2 CDs and taking their music to the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (USA), Cultural Olympiad and Womadelaide (Australia). In 2002, she formed Moana & the Tribe, and took her music to Europe on the back of the CD Toru. In 2003, Moana & the Tribe launched the NZ feature film The Whale Rider into Germany. They were also the first N.Z band to release a Music DVD into Germany, Live & Proud. Through their recordings and live performances, the band has quickly cemented its reputation as one of the most successful indigenous groups to emerge from Aotearoa. Moana’s lyrics reflect the Maori spiritual, cultural and political reality. Yet they contain universal values.

Oceania Map

January 10, 2007

Oceania Map

E Komo Mai Moana Celebrating the Maile

January 1, 2007

Flower Leis