This book, based on fieldwork spanning a decade, gives a comprehensive analysis of the musical life of a unique Polynesian community whose geographical isolation, together with a local ban on missionaries and churches, combine to allow its 600 members to maintain a level of traditional cultural practices unique to the region. Taku is arguably the only location where traditional Polynesian religion continues to be practiced. This book explores the many ways in which spirit activities impact on both domestic and ritual life, how group singing and dancing give audible and visible expression to a variety of religious beliefs, and how spirit mediums relay songs and dances from the recent dead. Taku's community is well able to articulate the significance of their own strong performance tradition, and this book allows expert singers and dancers to speak passionately for themselves on subjects they understand intimately. Musical ethnographies from the Pacific are rare.
Like Moyle's earlier landmark volumes on Samoan and Tongan music, and also his trilogy on Australian Aboriginal music, this work will be of immense value to Pacific studies and will assume a place among the recognized staples of ethnomusicological research.
Publisher: University of Hawai'i Press