‘Are’are music from the Solomon Islands

I love this video.

This music is from the Solomon Islands, and it’s performed by the ‘Are’are people:

Are‘are is the name of a people from the south of the island of Malaita, which is part of the Solomon Islands. Their language is the ‘Are’are language, which part of the Austronesian language family. In 1999 there were an estimated 17,800 speakers,[1], up from about 8-9,000 in the 1970s.[2]


The traditional religion was ancestor worship, but during colonization, Christianity made big inroads, and by the mid-1970s at least half of the population was converted.[3] Bible portions were first translated in 1957.[1] About half belong to the South Seas Evangelical Church, and half to either the Catholic Church or Anglican Church of the Province of Melanesia. The former, do not permit traditional music, which is seen as related to the ancestral spirits, deemed “devils.”[3]

The ‘Are’are known for their complex panpipe music, which was studied by ethnomusicologist Hugo Zemp.


What you get in this recording is called “Bamboo Music,” and it apparently caught on in the 1920s:

In the 1920s bamboo music gained a following in several countries. Bamboo music was made by hitting open-ended bamboo tubes of varying sizes, originally with coconut husks [1]. After American soldiers brought their sandals to the Solomon Islands, these replaced coconut husks by the early 1960s, just as the music began spreading to Papua New Guinea [2].

In 1969/1970, ethnomusicologist Hugo Zemp recorded a number of local songs which were released on an LP in 1973, as a part of the UNESCO Musical Sources collection. WIKI

This film was made by Hugo Zemp. I am deeply moved by the simplicity, the complexity, the beautiful calm engagement of the musician(s), and by the elegant effect of the music. I think you will agree.

Perdonen yo pense que la musica Are Are era de Nueva Zelanda.


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