Users are advised that the following section includes graphic and potentially offensive content.

The song Ilakavetega is described by Malinowski in the following excerpt taken from Malinowski, B. 1929. The Sexual Life of Savages in Northwestern Melanesia. New York: Liveright. pp.341-342.

The Reef Heron and Ilakavetega

Ilakavetega is an old woman who lives with her granddaughters. These go to the seashore, where they meet a reef heron who inquires who they are. “We are the granddaughters of Ilakavetega.” “Tell her then,” answers the bird, and intones : —

Kaypwada’u wila,
Full of sores cunnus hers,

kaypilipili wila,
full of small sores cunnus hers,

kaypwada’uyala wila,
sore covered cunnus hers,

kaykumikumi wila:
eaten away by sores cunnus hers:

ibusi kalu momona.
It flows down her discharge,

akanuwasi yaegn bo’i.
I lap it up myself reef heron.

This somewhat gratuitous insult is repeated in full and with the same sing-song intonation to the grandmother, who accompanies her granddaughters to the seashore next day, meets the reef heron and hears what he has to say for herself; so that his song is chanted three times in the course of the narrative. The heron unfortunately gets entangled among the coral on the reef, and is caught, killed, and eaten, but the interests of poetic justice are served, for a sorcerer kills Ilakavetega and her granddaughters to avenge the death of this amiable and witty bird. Also the sorcerer copulates with each of his victims before killing them.

Bronislaw Malinowski, 1929