-scale=1.0,maximum-scale=1.0" : "width=1100"' name='viewport'/> Plum Street Chili: Vanuatu is in the news again... - Bede's Beat

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Vanuatu is in the news again... - Bede's Beat

There was a major earthquake 35km NE of Port-Olry on 20 October. Fortunately no casualties and minimal damage was reported.

Flag of Vanatu
But the news that is really grabbing Australasia and Oceania's attention is that -- after being convicted by the Vanuatu Republic's Supreme Court on corruption charges along with 13 other legislators on October 9 -- Vanuatu's Parliamentary Speaker Marcellino Pipite immediately invoked one of his powers as "acting president", since President Baldwin Lonsdale happened to be abroad on the 9th, to pardon himself and the other 13 MPs. Immediately upon his return, President Lonsdale overturned the pardons. On October 21st, the Supreme Court ruled the pardons unconstitutional.

Coat of Arms of Vanuatu 
We hear of or read about places such as Vanuatu, but what about the people who actually live there?

Vanuatu is home to the "Jeux d'eau" or "Water Games" -- the highlight of which are Water Percussion competitions and demonstrations.
The following clip contains footage from the Jeux d'eau 2007, shot by videographers from the Museum of Music in Paris.



The following clip contains a demonstration of water percussion filmed at Banks Island, Vanuatu.

It is raw footage filmed by AJ Hickling as part of a self-funded hour-and-a-half film exploring Vanuatuan culture through percussion and rhythms, "Evolving Rhythms - Island Adventures"


The film contains some amazing performances, but the filmmaker's attention span is less than I prefer when i drum with someone, as much of the music is presented in tantalizingly (and maddeningly) short clips of local performers, whose performances are often used as samples rather than featured in full and explained and explored... Perhaps AJ should have done more listening and less smoking during his trip...

Here is an example of a Vanuatuan "stomp dance", filmed at a Chiefmaking ceremony in Bethel Village, Vanuatu. The percussion is provided by slit drums.


The final clip is footage of a ceremonial dance, of a type known as a "kastom dance", performed by the Smol Nambas people of Vanuatu. It was recorded on Maskelynes, one of the very small Vanuatuan islands, located off the coast of the larger island of Peskarus. The percussion instrument being played is a slit gong drum. The dance they are performing is called the "raft dance" and tells of how the Smol Nambas came to live on Maskelynes. 


The videographer notes that -- while the ceremonies captured in this video are very sacred and performed at very specific times -- "The men were keen for me to film them and put the footage on the internet for the world to see but I was forbidden to show footage to any villager."

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