International Council for Traditions of Music and Dance

A Non-Governmental Organization in Formal Consultative Relations with UNESCO

Circular letter April 2005

Business Meeting at 38th World Conference in Sheffield

Members may have noticed that a Business Meeting of the SGMO is not scheduled in the Preliminary Program of the World Conference published in the April Bulletin. Very short notice was given to include such notices and yours truly missed the deadline. However, a slot has been secured on Monday 8 August from 20:45 – 21:45 in Room C. I have been assured that this information will be included in the Final Program.

Stephen Wild

An ICTM-SGMO Meeting in Honolulu, 20-21 November 2006?

The Society for Ethnomusicology (to which more that 20 of our ICTM-SGMO members also belong) will hold its 51st Annual Meeting in Honolulu, 15-19 November 2006, with Pre-Conference on Hawaiian music, 14 November. Hosted by the University of Hawai`i at Manoa, in addition to whatever themes the Program Committee chooses, it will emphasize the musics (and dance) of the Pacific, Asia, and Hawai`i’s multi-ethnic community. We hope it will attract many SGMO members to Honolulu and that a day or two following it will prove desirable for a meeting here—in fact, the most desirable in our Study Group’s quarter century of existence since distance and associated cost of travel tends to reduce the possibility of a “stand-alone” meeting.

To help assess the potential interest in participation in this proposal, and to prepare for discussion of it at the SGMO Business Meeting during the ICTM 38th World Conference in Sheffield, England, 3-10-August 2005, members are requested to respond by 31 May indicating your tentative interest in participating and your suggestions for themes to the SGMO Chair at, with copy to both Jane Moulin at and Barbara Smith at SGMO members wanting to learn more about SEM (since 2004, the U.S. National Committee of ICTM)—its history, mission, conferences, etc.—are encouraged to view its website,, or to write to its business office:

The Society for Ethnomusicology
Indiana University, Morrison Hall 005,
1165 East 3rd Street
Bloomington, IN 47405

Those of us in Hawai`i look forward to welcoming you in November 2006.

Barbara B. Smith

Members’ Publications

Jane Moulin

  • 2004 Cueing Up: Situating Power on the Tahitian Stage. Yearbook for Traditional Music 36:113-132.
  • 2003 Words of Tomorrow: “Spectacle” and the Festival of Pacific Arts. Pacific Arts (25):23-30.

Mervyn McLean and Margaret ORBELL

  • 2002 Songs of a Kaumätua: Sung by Kino Hughes. Auckland: Auckland University Press. xii, 278pp. and two CDs. [The book contains song texts, English translations, annotations, music transcriptions, and CD recordings of 60 songs from the McLean collection, sung or by led by a single renowned elder of Tuhoe tribe, Kino Hughes.]
  • 2004. To tatau waka: In Search of Maori Music. Auckland Auckland University Press. vi, 191pp. and a D. [The book is an account of McLean's field work experiences in New Zealand from 1958–79. There are more than 80 photographs of Maori singers supplied by their descendants, and the CD contains 37 representative songs from the McLean collection sung by persons whose photos appear in the book.]

and Margaret ORBELL, 2004. Traditional Songs of the Maori. Revised third edition. Auckland: Auckland University Press. 328pp. and two CDs. [The two CDs with this re-issue of the award-winning first edition of 1975 contain recordings from the McLean collection of all 50 songs which are transcribed into music notation, translated and annotated in the book.]

Another recent reissue, again with CDs containing songs from the McLean collection, is: NGATA, A.T. and Pei TE HURINUI, 2004. Nga Moteatea, Part 1. Auckland: Auckland University Press. xxxviii, 421, 4 pp. [This anthology of classic Maori song texts, with English translations by the two authors was last issued in 1972. The new edition has been reset and includes in its two CDs recordings of 52 of the 90 songs in the book, drawn from the McLean and Maori Purposes Fund Board collections in the Archive of Maori and Pacific Music at the University of Auckland. Three further volumes are planned for subsequent years. ]

Stephen Wild and Peter Toner, 2004, ‘Introduction – World Music: Politics, Production and Pedagogy’. The Asia-Pacific Journal of Anthropology 2003, ‘Aboriginal music and dance’. In Currency Companion to Music and Dance in Australia, Currency House, Sydney. Pp. 582-584. 

2003, ‘Musicology’. In Currency Companion to Music and Dance in Australia, Currency House, Sydney. Pp 577-580.

Members’ Activities

Jane Moulin


Te Vevo Tahiti nō Mānoa is the select University of Hawai'i Tahitian Dance Ensemble directed by Jane Moulin. The group performs for a variety of campus and community events and offers rigorous training for those with an interest in perfecting their performance skills. The UH supports several performance courses in Pacific music and dance, including: Samoan Ensemble, Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar, Hawaiian Ensemble, Hawaiian chorus, five sections of hula and chant, and two sections of Tahitian dance.

The Samoan, Tahitian, and Slack Key ensembles join together on April 16, 2005 for the Music Department's "Evening of Pacific Music and Dance" concert


Ethnomusicology Professor Jane Moulin will be teaching in Paris next Fall as part of the UH Study Abroad program at the Sorbonne. The Study Abroad program accepts students from US or non-US colleges and universities who are interested in experiencing Paris while improving their French skills and taking coursework in either world musics or urban ethnomusicology. Insterested students can contact her at

Kirsty Gillespie

Kirsty will be undertaking her PhD research in the Kopiago area of the Southern Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea from February to August this year, and so will be out of email contact for that period of time. Whilst in PNG she hopes to attend the Mount Hagen Cultural Show, which is on 20-21 August this year. Upon her return to Australia, Kirsty plans to present the results of her research to both the Musicological Society of Australia’s national conference in Sydney in October and the Society for Ethnomusicology’s annual meeting Atlanta, Georgia in November.

Stephen Wild

Stephen was the recipient, along with two other scholars (an anthropologist and a linguist) of a grant from the Australian Research Council to document recordings of Warlpiri Aboriginal songs held in the Sound Archive of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS). It is a collaborative project with AIATSIS and the Central Aboriginal Land Council (Alice Springs) and will be carried out over 3 years (2005-2007).

Other Activities/Events

38th World Conference, Sheffield

There will be a panel dedicated to Pacific hymnody at the upcoming ICTM conference in Sheffield (Monday 8 August, 14:30 – 16:30). The panel will include:

  • Kuki Tuiasosopo – Pese ma vi‘iga i le atua: Indigenization and the Sacred Music of the Congregational Church of Jesus in Sāmoa;
  • Jane Freeman Moulin – Each Bird Has Its Own Song: Music in the Marquesan Church;
  • Brian Diettrich – Communities of Faith, Networks of Culture: Chuukese Church Music in the Diaspora;
  • Raymond Amman – Hymns and “Counter-Hymns” in the Loyalty Islands (New Caledonia).
  • Jane Moulin

Other papers on the program of interest to members are:

  • Dan Bendrups – “From Matato” to Military Dictatorship: Depicitions of War in Rapanui Music (Friday 5 August, 09:00 – 10:30);
  • Don Niles – The Sonic Structure of Tom Yaya Kange: An Example of Ka Waru Sung Poetry from Papua New Guinea (Monday 8 August, 11:00 – 12:30);
  • Karl Neuenfeldt – The Music Researcher as Music Producer: A Case Study of Recording Torres Strait Islander Communities in Australia (Monday 8 August, 17:00 – 18:30);
  • Helen Black – A Psalm by Any Other Name Does Sound as Sweet (Tuesday 9 August, 09:00 – 10:30);
  • Muriel E. Swijghuisen Reigersberg – Reconstructing and Reviving a Choral Tradition in a Lutheran Aboriginal Community in Australia (Tuesday 9 August, 09:00 – 10:30);
  • Stephen Wild – The Song Series: Aboriginal Australia’s Contribution to Ethnomusicological Theory? (Wednesday 10 August, 09:00 – 11:00).

Hawaiian Pacific Collection Damaged by Flood

The University of Hawaii suffered a serious flood on 31 October 2004 which severely affected library services, including access to the Hawaiian Pacific Collection in the Hamilton Library. The Pacific Collection was spared major damage “but researchers should be aware that some portions of the map and government documents collections, which were housed in the basement of the library, were destroyed” (Jane Moulin). We are informed by our UH colleagues that access to the Collection was restored on 28 March 2005.

Fiji Conference: History and the Island Churches of the Pacific in the 20th Century

The principal aim of the October conference at the Pacific Theological College in Suva last year was to bring together eminent historians, anthropologists, theologians, scholars—plus one humble ethnomusicologist—to reflect on a century of Christianity in the Pacific and evaluate the contribution of the Island Churches to their communities. The attendant presenters and observers represented most of the island groups in the South Pacific encompassing Kiribati in the north, Torres Strait in the west, Tahiti in the east and New Zealand in the south, together with many island states in between. This was a unique opportunity to engage in debate—and make friends—with some of the most eminent historians on Pacific mission history while exchanging opinions on the future role of Pacific Christian Churches in the 21st century.

The subject of my paper was the indigenous religious meke of the Methodist Church of Fiji. Meke, the generic name for all traditional Fijian sung poetry became, with altered text, the original liturgy of the Methodist Church. Most of the evangelising, as elsewhere in the Pacific, was conducted by indigenous lay preachers, teachers and ministers, but in Fiji because of the vast geographical spread of islands and the disparate social mix, these early converts were often the only instructors of Christian principles. The original Wesleyan missionaries in 1835 were in many respects far more enlightened than some of their fellow brethren. They were clearly impressed by the Fijian innate ability to memorise long narrative passages and accepted the adaptation of text to music, astutely recognising the value of the indigenous music as a tool for evangelisation. The music that evolved as liturgy became known as Same, Taro and Sere usu/Polotu.

Particularly heartening for me, the paper was warmly welcomed by indigenous members of the conference whose own worship is based on Western hymnody, albeit with a ‘local’ flavour, and many long evenings were spent “around the kava bowl” discussing the music which uniquely forms such an integral part of Fijian Methodist worship.

Helen Black


PARADISEC (the Pacific and Regional Archive for Digital Sources in Endangered Cultures, is an initiative sponsored by Australian Research Council and four Australian Universities (the University of Sydney, University of Melbourne, Australian National University and the University of New England). It was established in 2003 to preserve and make accessible to researchers and, wherever possible, originating communities, the field recordings of endangered languages and musics made by Australian researchers outside Australia (mostly in the Pacific and Asian regions). In our first years of operation we have concentrated on salvaging orphaned academic collections that are themselves endangered through lack of a place of safe deposit when researchers retire or pass away.

Although most of our collection to date comes from linguistic researchers, we have several music collections in the queue, and are keen to find out about more. Those interested in finding more about depositing with us can download guidelines and information from ourwebsite:

As of 1 April 2005, we have 828 hours of audio digitised. Important audio collections that have now been digitised to international standards include:

  • the Dutton collection: 266 hours of recordings covering 63 different languages, made between 1958 and 1995 by the retired Australian National University linguist Tom Dutton (1935-). The material is mostly of Papua New Guinea languages but also includes recordings from the Solomon Islands, Australia and the USA. Although this is a linguistic collection, 47 tapes (15% of the total 295) contain music.
  • the Wurm collection: 115 hours so far - still in process, covering many different languages in the Pacific and PNG. This series includes recordings made by speakers themselves, with transcripts and translations, and sent to the late ANU linguist Stephen Wurm
  • (1922-2001) by post: PARADISEC is trialling a method developed by the Heritage Documentation Management System (University of Melbourne) for providing images of fieldnotes that relate to our audio collection.
  • the Capell collection: 10 hours so far, still in process. The late Arthur Capell (Univerity of Sydney) was a linguist who made many recordings in both Australia and elsewhere in Oceania dating from as early as the 1940s. The Australian materials are held at AIATSIS (Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies), but until now the non-Australian materials have been all but inaccessible. PARADISEC is now beginning to digitise the original non-Australian field tapes, and to provide images of related fieldnotes.

At present, metadata describing these and other parts of our collection can be searched via the OLAC and linguist list gateways: 

Later in 2005 we will be providing a search facility from our own web page, including password-protected access to the digital files in the collection. For copyright and intellectual property reasons, access is limited to depositors and those authorised by them. Requests for access can be directed to:

PARADISEC is keen to establish relationships with local cultural centres in its region of interest, and we have already begun cooperation with the Institute of Papua New Guinea Studies (Port Moresby, PNG), the Vanuatu Kaljoral Senta (Port Vila, Vanuatu), and local researchers in New Caledonia and Rapa Nui. As well as assisting with general advice on digital preservation via our website, we have run a number of training workshops on digital documentation methods, and assisted local cultural bodies by providing copies of relevant parts of our collection in an appropriate format, and helping with digital preservation of selected parts of their existing collections. In 2005 we are also trialling a variety of digital field recording technologies.
PARADISEC cooperates with international digital archives through the Open Language Archives Community (OLAC - and the Digital Endangered Languages and Musics Archives Network (DELAMAN We are also a testbed digital repository for the Australian Government-funded Australian Partnership for Sustainable Repositories ( In April 2005 we are hosting a visit by Professor Richard Moyle and a team from the Archive of Maori and Pacific Music (University of Auckland) to explore possibilities of future collaborations.
For further information about PARADISEC, please check out our website:, or contact our Project Manager, Nick Thieberger ( or our Project Liaison Officers Amanda Harris or Mim Corris (

Linda Barwick
Pacific and Regional Archive for Digital Sources in Endangered Cultures Sydney Unit, room 238 Transient Building F12 University of Sydney NSW 2006 tel +61 2 9036 9557 fax +61 2 9351 7572


Electronic Circular, August 2003

Festival of Pacific Arts
Planning for the Festival in Palau is picking up pace. Dates are now set as 22-31 July 2004. The Internet website is now quite substantial and informative:

This is quoted from Pacific Daily News:
Monday, August 4, 2003
By Scott Radway

KOROR, Palau (Pacific Daily News, Aug. 3) - In the old days when rugged Pacific islanders set out on a voyage in hand-hewn sailing canoes, it was an occasion for tears and lamenting. The sea could be kind, but it could be hard, too, and the elements fickle. Those who stayed behind understood the voyagers might never return. An outrigger canoe sinking into the horizon was the last thing a mother, a wife, a son had to hold.

And, if at last the canoe returned, tears were shed. The Gods had smiled on that voyage.

Those were the old days, before the Spanish, the Germans, the British, the Japanese, and the Americans all brought their deep-hulled ships to the islands. The islands were thrown into the heavy tide of colonialism, their cultures and identities wearied like an overburdened shoreline under heavy surf, some things drifting away.

But Pacific Islanders persevered, even in places where populations dwindled and foreigners swelled. Today, the outrigger canoe, the vessel powered by courage and steered only by the senses, holds a special meaning.

Amid the turmoil, the canoe is a symbol of the ancient connection the Pacific islander has with the land and sea. And the canoe voyage has come to represent the voyage Pacific islanders and their traditional cultures are making into the modern world.

But in July 2004, there will be cause for celebration, a heralded stop along the way. Palau is host of the Festival of Pacific Arts. Held every four years in the Pacific Islands, it is an event like no other.

In its purest sense, it is a display of an ocean-deep love of island traditions and the solidarity in the belief that the islands must adapt themselves to the modern world.

A time when, organizers say, traditional cultures are celebrated, updated and preserved in the Pacific way, by sharing, face to face.

First held in Fiji in 1972, the event draws people from all over the Pacific islands, to perform their age-old dances, race their canoes, talk about traditional medicine, crafts, of heritage, to talk about this struggle to maintain their Pacific Island identity in the raucous global village. Every four years, the great geographic separation is erased. A bridge is built.

Making it even more momentous for the region, this time around will be the first time the festival is held in Micronesia. "Palau is proud to be the host country," says Alexander Merep, minister of community and cultural affairs and director of the 2004 festival. "We like to think we are doing this on behalf of all of Micronesia -- 2004 is a big year for us."

It is a time, Merep says, that Palau and Micronesia can demonstrate to the rest of the Pacific their cultures and heritage, and for the Pacific as a whole to demonstrate the same to the world.

"We are small islands in a big ocean, in a big world. But together we can make an impact," says Faustina Rehuher, director of the Belau National Museum and deputy director for the festival.

So on July 20, as the sun rises in the crisp hour of dawn, the festival will begin. There will be ocean-going vessels sailed in the old way, by the stars. There will be paddling canoes. Some canoes might travel from as far as Hawaii. The Marshalls, where a revival in sailing canoe racing has begun in recent years, is expected to send canoes. Yap, too, and Saipan. Palauan villages are once again building war canoes.

So expect a few tears in that first morning light.

The canoes are coming home, coming home to Micronesia.

Counting The Days

The tiles on a small billboard posted on this nation's main street in Koror read 394. That's the number of days left on this particular day to prepare for the Festival of Pacific Arts. And each day since late January a festival organizer has ticked off a tile.

It seems a little farsighted.

But when you consider it all, for a country of 20,000 to put on the mammoth event, that number starts to evaporate like a water supply in an El Niño drought.

In all, some 26 island countries, territories and commonwealths are expected to send delegations to the 10-day festival that wraps up with a traditional feast under the July 2004 full moon.

That means some 2,500 participants will come with an unknown number of
tourists in tow for the only chance to possibly experience every Pacific Island in a single trip.

Schools will be turned into dormitories for participants. Hotels -- stocking a little more than 1,000 rooms -- are expected to be brimming with guests. Families plan to open their homes to visitors. Yachts should fill the harbors. The tab for Palau to put it on the Pacific way -- which means feeding and housing all delegations while charging nothing to attend -- could cost several million dollars.

Not to mention, there is a new museum to build, a new cultural center, and much more for the festival.

So that billboard is ticking away. And don't miss the not-so-subtle message between the tiles: If you want to attend, make a reservation now.

Stories From the Past

Growing up, Ananias Bultedaob remembers his father telling him stories about a big canoe race. It was early in the last century, when the Japanese were governing Palau. All the villages sent their war canoes, the kabekel, to Koror for a race.

All of them, Bultedaob says, maybe 16 long canoes. The thought of it -- so many Palauans moving in unison, and so much time and patience and knowledge wrought in those canoes -- makes this builder of canoes smile deeply.

"My father told me about a big boat race," Bultedaob says proudly.

Bultedaob was one of the leaders of a crew that recently built a war canoe in Melekeok State at the wish of the chief, called the Reklai. Bultedaob stands quietly astride the canoe and its long, hollowed-out, red hull. The paddles are resting in each position. Reaching 42 feet, this canoe will seat nearly 30 people. Along the sides are painted the Palauan symbol for money.

"When you went to war, it meant you were going to get a lot of money," says Bultedaob, smiling mischievously.

Speaking of canoes and tradition, Reklai Raphael Ngirmang, one of the two high chiefs in Palau, says: "We want to show the world our traditions. Our traditions are like our language, it is our identification in the world society."

Ngchesar State also has a war canoe. Ngardmau State is building one. The tree has been felled. It comes at a good time, too. Only a handful of elders still knew how to build a war canoe.

"We are doing it to teach the younger generation our traditions or we will lose them," the Reklai says.

Tiare Holmes, vice chairwoman of the festival committee in charge of the traditional navigation and canoeing, says the festival could be the match to fire up a revival.

The ultimate goal is a canoe in every village, she says. A canoe that the youth can learn in. "We don't want to build a canoe that will end up in a museum or a restaurant. We want to revive the passion for canoeing and traditional navigation," Holmes says. "A canoe belongs in the water."

That sentiment strikes at the essence of the festival: Culture must live and breathe -- and grow. The festival logo is a mature tree depicted in its reproductive cycle.

So on a recent quiet afternoon, after the war canoe was built in Melekeok, Bultedaob says he happily replied when some people in the village asked him what the canoe was. They were older than he, he notes, laughing.

"They said, 'What's this, a sailing canoe?'

"Now they know. It's a war canoe, like the one in Ngechesar, like the one being made in Ngardmau."

Come July 2004, more will learn, others will remember. And now Bultedaob can dream of a new big boat race.

The canoes are coming home, coming home to Micronesia.

August 4, 2003
Pacific Daily News:
Copyright © 2003 Pacific Daily News. All Rights Reserved.

You are urged to make accommodation bookings soon if you are planning to attend the Festival.

Meetings and Gatherings
Although the response to my request for when and what kinds of meetings you would like to attend was low, I learned that members of the SG are likely to be dispersed over the several conferences and a festival to be held over the next year. With this in mind, I propose the following meetings/informal gatherings:

1. An Informal Gathering in association with the joint MSA/NZMS conference in Wellington, NZ, 27-30 November 2003. Thomas Allan, Convenor, has agreed to find us a place on the program during the conference and will announce it in the official Program. Note that it will not be before or after the conference. I have asked for 90 minutes but indicated that we would be happy with one hour if more time cannot be found.
2. A Business Meeting in association with the ICTM World Conference in Fuzhou, China, 4-11 January 2004. Program Chair Don Niles has assured me that the original slot of 90 minutes will be reserved for us in the rescheduled conference. If it is in the same position on the program as previously, our meeting will be held from 11.00 am-12.30 pm, Wednesday 7 January (but this may change as the program is revised – members should watch ICTM announcements on the official website and in the October Bulletin).
3. A Special Meeting in association with the Festival of Pacific Arts in Palau, 22-31 July 2004. At this meeting it is planned to have more substantial presentations, and responses to the Festival will presumably also be part of our meeting. Hopefully this meeting will take place immediately after the Festival, although details are not yet available. Members who intend to participate should plan to stay an extra two days after the Festival ends (i.e. 1-2 August).

Clearly, most members will not be present at all three of these events, but most members will have the opportunity to participate in one of the meetings. I have not planned anything specifically for SIMS (Melbourne, Australia, 12-17 July 2004); however, if enough members will not be attending any of the other three events and will be attending SIMS and would like to have an Informal Gathering, I am happy to organise one - please advise me if you are in this category.

Proposed Agenda Items for Business Meeting, Fuzhou, China, January 2004
These are proposed agenda items for our Business Meeting in Fuzhou. Suggestions from members of other items are welcome – please send them to me.
1. Chair’s report of activities since September 2001, followed by discussion.
2. Around the room informal reports of activities and events by members present.
3. Topics for forthcoming Special Meeting in Palau.
4. Future SG meetings, gatherings, etc.
5. Other activities to further SG goals.
6. Election of Chair for next biennium (until next ICTM World Conference, 2005).

Proposed Agenda Items for Informal Gathering, Wellington, New Zealand/Aotearoa, November 2003
Similarly, suggestions of other items are welcome.
1. Introduction of the SG and its proposed activities. (It is anticipated that some potentially new members will attend.)
2. Introduction of participants at the Gathering (affiliations, research interests).
3. Topics for forthcoming Special Meeting in Palau.
4. Other matters to be raised at the Business Meeting in Fuzhou.
5. General discussion of the SG (e.g. suggestions for other future activities and meetings/gatherings).

Stephen Wild