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New Caledonia - Voices Of The Shores And Mountains

Music of the world

This album bears witness to a music-collecting trip carried out by Françoise Degeorges, the producer-presenter of the radio show “Couleurs du Monde” on France Musique, in search of the ancestral musical spirit that pervades modern-day Kanak society. It features musical events that took place in their natural environment, following an itinerary prepared and led by two specialists of these music styles: Emmanuel Tjibaou and Hervé Lecren. Two civilisations live alongside one another in New caledonia. Its original inhabitants are the Kanak, a Melanesian branch who took root in this South-Western Pacific region over three thousand years ago and developed what has been called ‘the yam civilisation’. The European colonists took possession of the archipelago in the second half of the 19th century and pushed the native peoples off their ancestral lands, towards the north and east of the main island, confining them to reservations. There are now 336 tribes in New Caledonia. Songs and dances are the ‘property’ of clans, families or respected ‘elders’ who can, if need be, authorize –or not– performances staging this original cultural expression they are the guardians of. The murmur of the sea, the rustle of leaves in the breeze, the breath of fire, the cries of birds, the scratch of insects and the noise of winds, rain, cyclones, falling trees and floods, all are part of the Kanak sound universe.