Contemporary Melanesian Song No. 4

‘Baselaia Ne Wetr’ by Roumadyval from Lifou, New Caledonia [Source: YouTube]

This song updates the kaneka sound of New Caledonia and features the light, sweet voice of Rouamdyval of the Wetr district of Lifou in the Loyalty Islands, who is one of the few solo women performers of kaneka.

Characteristic of the genre is the reggae-like offbeat rhythmic accompaniment pattern, which is often played using a soft voicing that approximates panpipes, and the percussion breakdowns (middle and end) featuring the indigenous “tchap” rhythm and sonorous whistles of traditional dance. Recorded and produced by Noumea’s Mangrove Studio, the production has a decidedly European quality as well.

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