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Samoan surf pop

Music is ubiquitous, it’s everywhere and there is more music now than there ever has been. Just keeping on top of what’s happening here in Australia is an all but impossible task and yet you can’t help but wonder what else is going on in other corners of the globe.

Take our Pacific neighbours in the Polynesian Islands as an example. It can’t all be laid back ukulele, grass skirts and hula dancing. Enough with the clichés! What’s the metal scene like in Tahiti? What club bangers are they dropping in Tuvalu? With our curiosity piqued we undertook the task of compiling a list of 5 Polynesian artists.

5 Polynesian musicians you need to know

Did you know Tahiti has metal bands? Here are 5 Awesome Bands from the Polynesian Islands.

Last Voices

Okay while not locals themselves Last Voices are an organisation dedicated to recording traditional music and have captured the thunderous punch of traditional Polynesian drummers at their best. Think No Zu sans bass or synth, just the primal beat. Honed over centuries of tradition the intense beats of Jungle work in unison to weave the ultimate dance groove.

Varua Ino

Metal arrived in French Polynesia in full force at the end of the 1980’s. Credited as the first Polynesian metal band Tahitians Varua Ino (“bad spirit”) dropped their debut album Scum in 1997. A worthy addition to the pantheon of heavy and thrash metal classics the album explores many taboo themes. Despite setbacks such as the high price of instruments, government censorship and difficulties securing spaces to record and play live Varua Ino and their successors have persevered with their thirst for metal unquenched.

Tiama’a

With vocal harmonies and flawless fretwork that would give The Beach Boys a run for their money, Tiama’a are a legendary and beloved Samoan band. Drawing heavily from traditional Samoan musical style the group give off a chilled and almost country vibe. Talented songwriters and lyricists in their own right the band have gone on to write, influence and inspire many subsequent Polynesian pop music hits. These guys just exude nostalgia.

J Boog

It might not come as a surprise that reggae is HUGE in the Pacific islands. Drawing influence from Jamaican Reggae many Polynesian bands incorporate elements of reggae into pop music or their own brand of Pacific reggae which incorporates ukelele, traditional wooden drums, and synthesizers. For Let it Blaze J Boog takes a more old school approach paying homage to transcendent Rasta icon Bob Marley. A timeless message.

 OMC

Fronted by half Maori and half Nuian Pauly Fuemana soul group OMC instantaneously shot to global success in 1995 with single How Bizarre. Inspired by Polynesian and worldbeat rhythms the group’s infectious pop rock sold over three million records worldwide, landing the group the title of the most successful Pacific band of all time. 90s feel-good power pop at its best.

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J Boog
OMC

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July 20, 2015

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