Kaumaakonga: Taoba

The singer-musicians of Kaumaakonga are outliers because their ancestors traveled far. Their two small islands—Mungava and Mungiki, from which they derive Avaiki, the name of their Polynesian culture and language—occupy a corner of the Solomon Islands, which are predominantly Melanesian.* Centuries before Europe’s Age of Exploration, Polynesian navigators plied the vast Pacific in canoes, using a wayfinding toolbox of sun and stars, waves and … More Kaumaakonga: Taoba

Vaiteani

A Google search of literature featuring Tahiti turns up novels by 46 authors, only one of whom is Tahitian: Most of what the world knows about the fabled island is filtered through foreign eyes. The singer-songwriter Vaiteani Teaniniuraitemoana acknowledges that some stereotypes of her home island are positive, but she sees all simplified images as reference points to be checked against experience. A good starting place is her eponymous debut … More Vaiteani

Te Vaka: Amataga

As a teenager, Opetaia Foa’i knew music was his calling—to the chagrin of his family, for whom singing was integral to life but hardly a profession. Born in Samoa—father from Tokelau, mother from Tuvalu—and raised in New Zealand, he played jazz, blues, reggae and the songs of Jimi Hendrix. But as he started writing his own music, Foa’i found he felt most at home with the rhythms of his roots. … More Te Vaka: Amataga