The Musical Water Maidens

Huntington Post Photo

It is not often that you find musicians using nature to aid in their musical performances. In the Melanesian culture, a rare tradition passed down from generation to generation of women still lives on.  Lakes, rivers or the sea water is used as a percussion in this tradition, to provide the music with singing. In recent years, this beautiful tradition has been shared with the world through international tours and festival performances. The performers of the Vanuatu Women’s Water Music group (two pictured) hail from the remote northern tropical islands of Vanuatu. They travel the world performing the Na Mag and Ne Lang dances as a prelude to the mystical water music, dressed in their traditional costumes of Gaua and Mere Lava made from flowers and leaves, coconuts and pandanus. Their performance is truly mesmerizing as they reimagine the old with contemporary expressions of Matto – bringing together traditional beats and rhythms with ukulele-led melodies and soaring vocal harmonies.

“And in an age when most bands are dominated by just a handful of instruments — drums, bass and guitar — I encounter a new way of making music every year at the RWMF. In 2011, women from a village in Vanuatu turned the lake of the cultural village into their instrument, cupping their hands under the water to make booming percussion sounds”, wrote Michael Switow when reviewing the women’s performance at the Rainforest World Music Festival.

To listen to one of their songs, click here

Wantok Musik Foundation

21 thoughts on “The Musical Water Maidens”

  1. i’m a drummer so i think this is
    great … and it’s interesting that
    the theme of the blog i just posted is similar … i’d love to see
    them perform … it’s so nice to see your face from time to time … thanks for letting it grace my site …. ks

    Liked by 1 person

      1. i’ll have to think about this one … don’t play in a band now … i’m a wicked conga drum player but i like to play along with ‘drum and bass’ music … different than playing congas to latin rhythms … do you know drum and bass music? if not, go to pandora, type in Kaskade … or Underworld or Sasha (not the singer … ) . i love to dance … playing the drums is ‘dancing sitting down ‘ … ”your sincerity comes from a deeper more personal space” … thanks again ,,, ks

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I would dearly love to see those women perform. On the video it sounds beautiful and I can imagine what it would be like to actually be there, out in the open, to hear and see them play. It would be very sad if such a wonderful tradition were lost.

    Liked by 1 person

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