Research in Wagawaga, January 2022

Report by Nuegu Billy

The Wagawaga people live in the Bay area of Milne Bay Province. Traditionally they depended on fish, sago, and vegetables from their gardens. They engaged in traditional expeditions to exchange vegetables for fish, necklaces, armbands, and clay pots with the outlying islands.
The Wagawaga language is an Austronesian language, which is spoken by no more than a thousand people.

Christianity has had a great influence on the people. Their lives are based on the Christian principles which were introduced by the London Missionary Society, the first missionaries to arrive on the shores of Wagawaga over a hundred years ago.

Nuegu Billy researched the Wagawaga recordings of the True Echoes project. He received his diploma in secondary-school teaching from Goroka Teacher’s College (now University of Goroka), in Eastern Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea. He later graduated from the University of Papua New Guinea with an Arts Degree and went on to complete a Master’s degree in applied linguistics at the Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. Nuegu started off as a secondary-school teacher, and later worked for the National Department of Education as the Principal Curriculum Officer for Language and Literacy. He taught at the University of Papua New Guinea for 38 years before retiring at the end of 2021.

Recordings

Bobby Douglas at Wagawaga Village
Recorded on 3 January 2022
4 minutes 9 seconds

An interview with Bobby Douglas at Wagawaga village, 3 January 2022.

Interview with Dalume Falaniki at Wagawaga village
Recorded on 3 January 2022
0 minutes 35 seconds

Historical Recordings

The following cylinders were researched by Nuegu Billy from the Daniels Ethnographical Expedition to British New Guinea 1904 Cylinder Collection (C62).

British Library shelfmarkRecording titlePerformer nameRecording locationRecording dateContent descriptionPerformer descriptionRecording notesLanguagesGenreRecordistRecording lengthRecording tripDescription of cylinderCollection titleCylinder locationImages of cylinder containers / documentationRelated print publication: Related print publication: Related print publication: Related print publication: Related print publication: Related print publication:
C62/1443Damorea Waga WagaUnidentified (singer, male)Waga Waga, Milne Bay, British New GuineaOctober 19041. Announcement "Damorea. A Waga Waga song, sung at the Toreha by Wiri [?]." 2-3. Unaccompanied male vocal solo. A song sung at a funeral feast.Good quality recording.WagawagaField recordings; LamentsSeligman, Charles Gabriel3'10"Daniels Ethnographical Expedition to New Guinea 1904Brown wax cylinderDaniels Ethnographical Expedition to New Guinea 1904 Cylinder Collection (C62)British Library
This song is transcribed in Charles G. Seligmann, 'The Melanesians of British New Guinea', Cambridge University Press, 1910:587.
C62/1444Kwabiai Waga WagaUnidentified (singer, male)Waga Waga, Milne Bay, British New GuineaOctober 19041. Announcement: "Kwabiaia, a Waga Waga song." 2. Unaccompanied male vocal solo (with some laughter).Reasonable quality recording but short duration and some distortion.WagawagaField recordingsSeligman, Charles Gabriel1'47"Daniels Ethnographical Expedition to New Guinea 1904Brown wax cylinderDaniels Ethnographical Expedition to New Guinea 1904 Cylinder Collection (C62)British Library
This song is transcribed and translated in Charles G. Seligmann, 'The Melanesians of British New Guinea', Cambridge University Press, 1910:588.
C62/1445Nuauuro Waga WagaUnidentified (singer, male); unidentified (percussion)Waga Waga, Milne Bay, British New GuineaOctober 19041. Announcement: "..., a Waga Waga song." 2. Male vocal solo with percussion accompaniment. The first part of the Nuauuro song.Reasonable quality recording but with weak signal and surface noise due to cracked cylinder.WagawagaField recordingsSeligman, Charles Gabriel2'52"Daniels Ethnographical Expedition to New Guinea 1904Brown wax cylinderDaniels Ethnographical Expedition to New Guinea 1904 Cylinder Collection (C62)British Library
This song is transcribed in Charles G. Seligmann, 'The Melanesians of British New Guinea', Cambridge University Press, 1910:587.
C62/1446Oge Oge Waga WagaUnidentified (singer, male)Waga Waga, Milne Bay, British New GuineaOctober 19041. Announcement: "Oge Oge, a Waga Waga song." 2. Unaccompanied male vocal solo. A song whose meaning is not known.Good quality recording.WagawagaField recordingsSeligman, Charles Gabriel3'22"Daniels Ethnographical Expedition to New Guinea 1904Brown wax cylinderDaniels Ethnographical Expedition to New Guinea 1904 Cylinder Collection (C62)British Library
This song is transcribed in Charles G. Seligmann, 'The Melanesians of British New Guinea', Cambridge University Press, 1910:587.
C62/1447Pediri Waga WagaUnidentified (singer, male)Waga Waga, Milne Bay, British New GuineaOctober 19041. Announcement: "Pediri, a Waga Waga song.". 2. Unaccompanied male vocal solo. A song about a saling journey. Reasonable quality recording but with surface noise.WagawagaField recordingsSeligman, Charles Gabriel2'28"Daniels Ethnographical Expedition to New Guinea 1904Brown wax cylinderDaniels Ethnographical Expedition to New Guinea 1904 Cylinder Collection (C62)British Library
This song is transcribed in Charles G. Seligmann, 'The Melanesians of British New Guinea', Cambridge University Press, 1910:586-587.
C62/1450Nuauuro BUnidentified (singer, male)Waga Waga, Milne Bay, British New GuineaOctober 19041. Announcement: "Nuauro, a Waga Waga song." 2. Unaccompanied male vocal solo. The second part of the Nuauuro song.Reasonable quality recording but with weak signal and surface noise.WagawagaField recordingsSeligman, Charles Gabriel3'26"Daniels Ethnographical Expedition to New Guinea 1904Brown wax cylinderDaniels Ethnographical Expedition to New Guinea 1904 Cylinder Collection (C62)British Library
This song is transcribed in Charles G. Seligmann, 'The Melanesians of British New Guinea', Cambridge University Press, 1910:587.

These include all recordings identified as Roro, Mekeo, Mekeo/Roro, as well as unidentified recordings.