Sunday, January 15, 2017

The Tongan nose flute

Tongan nose flute - from the archives

A rare instrument in the South Pacific these days is the nose-flute. But once it was more common in several islands, especially Tonga, where it was played to awaken a member of the royal family. Some lullabies have similar melodies to that played on the Tongan nose-flute.
(from my old research papers) W.


Pandabonium said...
Very interesting.
Vakaivosavosa said...
Apparently the nose flute is also played in Fiji - now only old men in the hills of Ra and Navosa know how to make and play them though. Our culture department is undertaking a cultural mapping and inventory survey of the traditional knowledge of the different parts of Fiji and their unique or special cultural heritage, handicraft artifacts -

see 1.

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...
Thank you Panda and thank you Vakaivosavosa for the two links which are very interesting. I heard they were going to do this. I wonder how many ethnomusicologists are involved. Of course the real experts are already there, some elderly men and women in the villages. A daunivucu I met at Nubunikavula village was a charming elderly man over ninety and he gave me some logging chants.
About the nose flute - I have never seen one in Fiji, but Chris Saumaiwai wrote something about it one time.
My MA thesis about the music of Labasa in in the Pacific Collection at USP - but as an 'outsider' I'm still a stranger to much of the cultural information.
Vakaivosavosa said...
Hi W. I heard about the nose flutes in the interior of Viti Levu about five years ago, but haven't seen one so far. I heard that it was part of an exhibition on a vucu and meke exhibition/competition held at the Dome two years ago, but it didn't make the papers.

Its early days on the cultural inventory project - I doubt there's any ethnomusicolo.. whatumacallits involved as the dept is very small and under-resourced. So far, the focus of the mapping is traditional mats which are specialised by different women in different provinces, not so much music and traditional instruments. Hopefully the old men who do play the nose flute in the hills are passing on the tradition to younger people and will not be dead by the time the mapping project gets to them!

Theres a few bands from Macuata doing well on the local scene - the harmonies are nice and the dialect is practically another language!

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