Archive for May, 2007

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.