Music Sin Fronteras. Micronesian music – IndiePulse Music Journal

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Nostril flutes and ukuleles. A trip to Micronesia with music.

I’m again from trip with photographs and songs and interviews. We have been in Hawaii, Guam and the island nation of Palau in Micronesia. Due to our schedule, probably the most music  I discovered was in Hawaii, though I discovered that the Pacific Islands boast a variety of each indigenous and fashionable music.

Probably the most attention-grabbing experiences have been in Waimea Canyon Park, on Kauai. The canyon is a state park however an area non-profit works with the park service to protect not solely the magnificent rivers and waterfalls and crops and animals, however the tradition of the individuals who lived there,  and nonetheless do. A part of that tradition is music and there have been demonstrations with artists and devices arrange alongside a path by the canyon.

Two devices struck me as I listened to the artists  demonstrating the music of the current and the previous, the nostril flute, and the ukulele.

I had not seen a nostril flute earlier than. The Hawaiian nostril flute, also called the ʻOhe hano Ihu”, is a standard instrument constructed from a single stalk of bamboo. It’s thought of a lovers’ instrument in Hawaii. In historical instances, {couples} in love would typically search out the flute to accompany their love-making chants. (sadly that was not demonstrated)

Waimea State Park, Kauai, Hawaii

Whereas nostril flutes happen in lots of locations all through the Pacific, the flutes I noticed and practiced on have been hand-crafted regionally. The musician demonstrating the flutes had a number of devices, a few of which he made.  Every one was  distinctive in measurement, form, shade, and, in fact, sound.

 I seen that the holes have been spaced in a different way on every instrument, and he informed me that historically the person who supposed to play the flute whereas wooing his sweetheart, specified the spacing of the holes and the size of the instrument. ( I believe many males want to specify the size of their instrument whereas relationship, however I digress.)

The artists confirmed me play the flute, which is deceptively straightforward. To play the flute, the index finger of the left hand is pressed in opposition to the left aspect of the nostril to shut the left nostril and focus airflow by the correct. The thumb and different fingers of the left hand maintain the instrument, whereas the index, center, and ring fingers of the correct hand are used to cowl the finger holes. Then you definately exhale by your nostril, into the flute. When you get it positioned excellent, you have got sound! Very quickly in any respect I used to be following the musician in a easy music , though I’m famously musically challenged.

Farther down the path was a ukulele maker and musician. Everyone knows the 4-string  “uke” and the favored Hawaiian songs which have made it into our music minds,  due to Don Ho and songs like “Ka Uluwehi O Ke Kai and “My Little Grass Shack in Kealakekua, Hawaii”. And  as one who has attended the music gear present NAMM and walked by acres of ukuleles in music cubicles,  I used to be not stunned to listen to an eight-string ukulele and see an enormous jumble of shapes and  sizes of the “uke”

We heard conventional songs which sounded nothing like Don Ho, though they retained the high-pitched, fast-tempo of acquainted Hawaiian music, however have been extra melodic and in some circumstances, nostalgic.   

Whereas plenty of artists like Carolyn Cardoza  have electrified ukuleles and made stunning, uncommon music with them, I didn’t see a single pedal field connected to a ukulele in Hawaii. I believe I simply missed them.

I intend to discover Pacific Island/Polynesian music extra, however I did see that there isn’t any scarcity of pop, rock, rap, and even a bit cumbia within the islands, courtesy of streaming platforms. However the fast conversations I had with bands informed me they play covers for vacationers, conventional music for festivals, and mashups and blends for themselves and native audiences. I’m on the lookout for these mashups and blends.

 If you wish to see extra on the music of the islands, the Rejoice Micronesia Competition at Bishop Museum in Hawaii begins June 16. I don’t know but if it will likely be stay streamed. We met a keyboard participant in Palau who might be enjoying there, and I hope to get a hyperlink from him when he finds out. For now, take a look at

Patrick O’Heffernan

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