Research in Malaita, July 2022

Report by Eddie Mae and Chris Hapert Ha’arabe

Malaita Province is the highest populated province in the Solomon Islands. The Malaitans like other provinces in the Solomon Islands thus people are spiritually connected with their ancestors in different forms of worship, like lullaby singings, performing traditional lullaby dancing songs as their ritual sacrificial ceremonies. It is believed Malaita Province had fourteen (14) different dialects (Languages). However, we only managed to visit/discover Langa Langa Lagoon, refer to as people of Wala. 

The Malaita team recorded eight lullabies, both in singing and dancing styles. With the new-recorded lullabies, some of them are quite emotional and spiritually rooted. They performed such lullabies as a tradition of worshipping/ honouring/respecting their heroes (Ancestors), whilst in some cases, some of them (especially, Wala) did it during a passing away of their loved ones (Lament). Therefore, some of these people of Langa Langa/Wala still practising the same old fashions like before, but rarely to be found nowadays. If anyone wants to listen to these oral historical lullaby singing and dancing must be contacting or connecting to the people back in the villages.

Recordings

The interviewees the Malaita team had been conducting interviews with are: Mrs Anna Bulugwalu, Mrs Theresia Kewisi, Mr Thardias Angihotele, Mr Brasi Walefai and Mrs Ulao Tahera.

Mrs Bulugwalu and Mrs Kewisi are cousins, thus duo on the first lullaby song called, ‘Fadlialo Laulasi’, which means ‘Booming of Laulasi’ during WWII on August 7th 1942, by the Japanese fighting planes that resulted in the loss of men, women and children.

Mr Thardias Angihotele is the leader of the Aibola Mao Dancers, from Aibola Community. Mr Brasi Walefai and Ulao Tahera were interviewed for the Lana Lana Women’s Cultural Group, the only group still able to do such oral historical lullaby singing and dancing.

The selected three new recordings from Langa Langa Lagoon, Wala are: 1. Fadlialo Laulasi, 2. Mae’au Abu I Laulasi & Mae’au Abu I Rarata, 3. Afai Wala. The recordings are rooted in an oral historic lullaby singing and dancing styles. The Malaita team recommended these cultural groups because they were the only group that still practise such lullaby singing and dancing in the Langa Langa/ Wala district.

Fadlialo Laulasi
Recorded 20 June 2022 

‘Fadlialo Laulasi’ means ‘Booming [bombing] of Laulasi’ in Langa Langa Lagoon/Wala. Sung by Mrs Bulugwalu, age 79, and Mrs Kewisi, age 82.

Rafle Maul Maul ala August 7th 1942
Io oh Japan lofo I nali fadlialo I Laulasi
Mala I amael touwarko tarafolo eh
I oh fafta amael alia suda la amaulgi
I oh lamae fadlialo amael mala amael
Ta wale touwarko I oh ogta’a famael
I oh kwelkwel rasua o lamolmae ko roun amael lo
Ti wal amael e’ahdmae e’ahd mol mae mal maena
Ti wal amael etaflo edoul ke toufal aruna ma edoul ke maemol
Mael kwaimaltai rasua si amael tafsia wal aful amaelgi

Booming of Laulasi
In the early morning of August 7th 1942
You Japanese flew over booming Laulasi
Like we were the ones causing trouble
You destroy us with your powerful weapons
You came booming us like we were your enemies
Some of us woke up but dead
Some of us escaped trying to swim to the mainland
But getting killed by you the Japanese fighting aircraft
Some managed to survive during the killing
Oh so sorry because we missed a lot of our people

[Translation]

Lah lah Lah laaah (4x)
Afai I wala li gera faura lo wale baela gera ali lafasi geli ala Nofeba (November)
Ala tolo I wala gera faura lo wale baela gera ala fasi geli ala Nofeba (November)
Ah I o laka mae lo agua fasia tolo eh wala li ala Egilani (England) ka ronowa mae
Ah I o laka mae lo agua fasia tolo eh wala li ala Merika (America) ka ronowa mae
Lah lah lah laaah (4x)

Lah lah Lah laaah (4X)
A dance from Langalanga made them put up their important man
If the island of Langalanga people put up their important man on November
Yah! We will be killed from the islands in Langalanga lagoon if it happens England hears
Yah! We will be killed from the islands in Langalanga lagoon if it happens America hears
Lah Lah lah Laaah (4x)

[Translation]

Mae’au Abu I Laulasi & Mae’au Abu I Rarata
Recorded 21 June 2022 

Performances of two songs. A Lullaby sung by Mrs Anna Bulugwalu & Mrs Theresia Kewisi plus a Lullaby dancing song by Lana Lana women’s group.

Ya ya ya yaaa (4x)
Akalo nuu nuu
Akua nu I bae
Akua tolii bae
O toli Fera Gwaru
Na welaa ila mauri
E faanisi lau
Ya ya ya yaaa (4x, fai me talasi)

Ya ya ya yaaa (4x)
Singing spirit
Singing at the bae
Falling into the bae
At Fera Gwaru
Lucky child, me
Possessed and crying
Ya ya ya yaaa (4x, four times)

[Translation]

Ya ya ya yaaa (4x)
Ada I tae lana
E tae la I saela
Kwalu baeli geli
E taesui la
Ya ya ya yaaa (4x)
Rongo aku sulia
Ri la bae lau
E lebesui la
Kita liu la
Ya ya ya yaaa

Ya ya ya yaaa (4x)
Look a loaded canoe
Over-loaded
With many women
Bound for nowhere
Ya ya ya yaa (4x)
They heeded not
My warning call
Surprised they were

[Translation]

Afai Wala
Recorded 21 June 2022 

 

Historical Recordings

The following cylinders from the Daniels Ethnographical Expedition to British New Guinea 1904 Cylinder Collection (C62) were researched by linus digim’Rina and Niyawa John.

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:
C62/141927 Osebouta TrobriandsUnidentified (spoken, male)Trobriand Islands, British New GuineaSeptember 19041. Announcement: "Osebouta. A sung [?] song at the Kaiwos Womilamala, by [indecipherable]. Trobriand Islands, September 1904." Song sung at a funeral feast.Good quality recording.KilivilaField recordings; LamentsSeligman, Charles Gabriel3'09"Daniels Ethnographical Expedition to New Guinea 1904Brown wax cylinderDaniels Ethnographical Expedition to New Guinea 1904 Cylinder Collection (C62)British Library
The feast is mentioned in Charles G. Seligmann, 'The Melanesians of British New Guinea', Cambridge University Press, 1910:750.
C62/142026 MamiepoUnidentified (spoken, male); Unidentified (singer, male)Trobriand Islands, British New GuineaSeptember 19041. Announcement: "Song sung at Kaiwos womilama, Trobriand Islands, September 1904." 2. Unaccompanied male vocal solo. Song sung at a funeral feast.Good quality recording.KilivilaField recordings; LamentsSeligman, Charles Gabriel3'09"Daniels Ethnographical Expedition to New Guinea 1904Brown wax cylinderDaniels Ethnographical Expedition to New Guinea 1904 Cylinder Collection (C62)British Library
The feast is mentioned in Charles G. Seligmann, 'The Melanesians of British New Guinea', Cambridge University Press, 1910:750.

The following cylinders from the Bronislaw Malinowski 1915-1918 Trobriand Islands, Territory of Papua Cylinder Collection (C46) were researched by linus digim’Rina and Niyawa John.

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:
C46/1397DobuUnidentified (male chorus)Trobriand Islands, Territory of PapuaJuly 1915 – October 19181. Unaccompanied male vocal group with leader. Leader's voice predominating and others faint.
The language of Dobu was the lingua franca for the Kula region; the island and its surrounding district were important in Kula activities (Malinowski 1922:39-40).
Although labelled as Dobu [dob] on the cylinder lid, it is questionable whether the language is Dobu or Kilivila. Certainly the musical style is very similar to those recordings identified as coming from the Trobriands, hence being in Kilivila language.
Reasonable quality recording but warbly speed fluctuations throughout. Kilivila or DobuanField recordings; Folk songs and music; Narrative songs; BalladsMalinowski, Bronislaw Kasper 2'23"Bronislaw Malinowski's 1915-1918 fieldwork on Kiriwina, Trobriand Islands, Papua New GuineaBlack wax cylinderBronislaw Malinowski 1915 – 1918 Trobriand Islands, Territory of Papua Cylinder Collection (C46)British Library
Malinowski, Bronislaw. 1922. Argonauts of the Western Pacific: An Account of Native Enterprise and Adventure in the Archipelagoes of Melanesian New Guinea. London: Routledge. Read this at: https://wolnelektury.pl/media/book/pdf/argonauts-of-the-western-pacific.pdf
C46/1398Gumagabu Paluwa (singer, male)Trobriand Islands, Territory of PapuaJuly 1915 – October 19181. Unaccompanied male vocal solo singing. No further information available.
Gumagabu is a song, dance and story/myth from Kiriwina; Malinowski explained and transcribed both the song and the story (Malinowski 1922:291-296) and photographed the dance (LSE photo archives MALINOWSKI/3/7/13).
Both the song and the story of Gumagabu depicts the avenging expedition of a chief called Tomakam, although they do not quite tally. Tomakam’s aim was to avenge the earlier murder of his older brother, a chief called Toraya, in the district of Gabu in the D’Entrecasteaux Islands (Malinowski 1922:291-296).
Malinowski mentioned seeing the dance of gumagabu (1916:380). The date of publication indicates that he must have seen it during his first period of fieldwork in the Trobriand Islands, between July 1915 and March 1916. Michael Young described it as a “Type of dance using dancing shields” (1998:283), and “the most popular” of the kaidebu dances (1998:94).
The photograph in Malinowski 1929: plate 14, "Men in Full Festive Attire" and a similar one in LSE (LSE photo archives MALINOWSKI/3/7/13) almost certainly show the gumagabu dance being performed.
Paluwa was a Trobriand Islander of low rank from the village of Omarakana (Malinowski 1967:295). He had three sons, including Monakewo (see below), and three daughters, and “discussed his troubles … at length” with Malinowski (Malinowski 1929:80). Reasonable quality recording, but with slight speed fluctuation throughout. KilivilaField recordings; Folk songs and music; Narrative songs; BalladsMalinowski, Bronislaw Kasper2'10"Bronislaw Malinowski's 1915-1918 fieldwork on Kiriwina, Trobriand Islands, Papua New GuineaBlack wax cylinderBronislaw Malinowski 1915 – 1918 Trobriand Islands, Territory of Papua Cylinder Collection (C46)British Library
Malinowski, Bronislaw. 1922. Argonauts of the Western Pacific: An Account of Native Enterprise and Adventure in the Archipelagoes of Melanesian New Guinea. London: Routledge. Read this at: https://wolnelektury.pl/media/book/pdf/argonauts-of-the-western-pacific.pdfMalinowski, Bronislaw. 1916. ”Baloma: The Spirits of the Dead in the Trobriand Islands.” The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland 46:353-430. Read this at: https://www.jstor.org/stable/2843398Malinowski, Bronislaw. 1929. The Sexual Life of Savages in Northwestern Melanesia. New York: Liveright. Read this at: http://www.berose.fr/IMG/pdf/malinowski_1929-the_sexual_life_of_savages.pdf
C46/1399Usi Tuma / RagayewoMonakewo (singer, male); Tokulubakiki (singer, male)Trobriand Islands, Territory of PapuaJuly 1915 – October 19181-2. Unaccompanied male vocal solo singing.
“Usituma is a song and dance of the Trobriand Islands … it is widely, and well known, being owned by six, or seven, different villages” (Baldwin 1945:201). Usi is probably an archaic pronunciation of wosi, the word for ‘song’ in Kilivila, the language of Kiriwina. Malinowski noted that Tuma is “a small island lying some ten miles to the north-west of the Trobriands,” where a person’s spirit went after their death (Malinowski 1916:354). Therefore usi tuma may have been a song about this spirit place.
Malinowski noted that in the evening of 30th June 1918, on Kiriwina, after talking with “Monakewo about copulation,” he “Then sat and wrote down and translated Ragayewo” (Malinowski 1967:295). There are no other references to Ragayewo in his published material. Usi is probably an archaic pronunciation of wosi, the word for ‘song’ in Kilivila, the language of Kiriwina.
Malinowski described Monakewo as “a great friend of mine” (Malinowski 1929:68) and “one of my best linguistic commentators” (Malinowski 1935:38). Monakewo was Paluwa’s son, and lived in Omarakana. Malinowski mentioned him many times in his texts, and noted working with him on a number of occasions. Monakewo helped Malinowski back from another village one evening when Malinowski was unwell (Malinowski 1967:295).
Malinowski described Tokulubakiki as his “best friend” (Malinowski 1929:148) and his “favourite informant in Omarakana,” saying that he could always rely on Tokulubakiki’s “honesty, goodwill and dispassionate reflection” (Malinowski 1929:161). He noted in a letter to his wife that Tokulubakiki was “a decent, honest, straightforward man” (Wayne 1995:151). Tokulubakiki was from the chiefly clan, and his father was one of the chiefs of Omarakana. Malinowski mentioned working with Tokulubakiki on many occasions, with magic and linguistics being common topics (Malinowski 1967:293, 295, 296, 310). Malinowski took a number of photographs of Tokulubakiki (Malinowski 1922:plate 9; 1929:236; Young 1998:50, 54, 68, 69, 129), and also of Tokulubakiki and Kuwo’igu, his wife (Malinowski 1929:plate 26), and also with his mother and children (LSE photo archives MALINOWSKI/3/ARG/15 LSE).
Surface noise caused by mould. KilivilaField recordings; Folk songs and music; Narrative songs; BalladsMalinowski, Bronislaw Kasper2'08"Bronislaw Malinowski's 1915-1918 fieldwork on Kiriwina, Trobriand Islands, Papua New GuineaBlack wax cylinderBronislaw Malinowski 1915 – 1918 Trobriand Islands, Territory of Papua Cylinder Collection (C46)British Library
Malinowski, Bronislaw. 1922. Argonauts of the Western Pacific: An Account of Native Enterprise and Adventure in the Archipelagoes of Melanesian New Guinea. London: Routledge. Read this at: https://wolnelektury.pl/media/book/pdf/argonauts-of-the-western-pacific.pdfBaldwin, Bernard. 1945 "Usituma! Song of Heaven." Oceania, 15:201-238. Read this at: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/j.1834-4461.1945.tb00425.xMalinowski, Bronislaw. 1916. ”Baloma: The Spirits of the Dead in the Trobriand Islands.” The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland 46:353-430. Read this at: https://www.jstor.org/stable/2843398Malinowski, Bronislaw. 1929. The Sexual Life of Savages in Northwestern Melanesia. New York: Liveright. Read this at: http://www.berose.fr/IMG/pdf/malinowski_1929-the_sexual_life_of_savages.pdfMalinowski, Bronislaw. 1967. A Diary in the Strict Sense of the Term. Trans. Norbert Guterman. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World. Read this at: Young, Michael. 1998. Malinowski’s Kiriwina: Fieldwork Photography 1915–1918. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Read this at:
C46/1400IlakavetegaMonakewo (singer, male)Trobriand Islands, Territory of PapuaJuly 1915 – October 19181. Unaccompanied male vocal solo of spoken text with some sung parts.
Ilakavetega is a story from Kiriwina known as 'The Reef Heron and Ilakavetega' (Malinowski 1929:341-342). Malinowski transcribed, translated and explained the story and song of The Reef Heron and Ilakavetaga, calling it a "gratuitous insult" and noting that it was told with "sing-song intonation" (Malinowski 1929:341-342).
Malinowski described Monakewo as “a great friend of mine” (Malinowski 1929:68) and “one of my best linguistic commentators” (Malinowski 1935:38). Monakewo was Paluwa’s son, and lived in Omarakana. Malinowski mentioned him many times in his texts, and noted working with him on a number of occasions. Monakewo helped Malinowski back from another village one evening when Malinowski was unwell (Malinowski 1967:295Surface noise caused by mould. KilivilaField recordings; Folk tales; StorytellingMalinowski, Bronislaw Kasper2'21"Bronislaw Malinowski's 1915-1918 fieldwork on Kiriwina, Trobriand Islands, Papua New GuineaBlack wax cylinderBronislaw Malinowski 1915 – 1918 Trobriand Islands, Territory of Papua Cylinder Collection (C46)British Library
Malinowski, Bronislaw. 1929. The Sexual Life of Savages in Northwestern Melanesia. New York: Liveright. Read this at: http://www.berose.fr/IMG/pdf/malinowski_1929-the_sexual_life_of_savages.pdf
C46/1401GumagabuPaluwa (singer, male)Trobriand Islands, Territory of Papua1918-07-171. Unaccompanied male vocal solo singing.
Gumagabu is a song, dance and story/myth from Kiriwina; Malinowski explained and transcribed both the song and the story (Malinowski 1922:291-296). Both the song and the story of Gumagabu depicts the avenging expedition of a chief called Tomakam, although they do not quite tally. Tomakam’s aim was to avenge the earlier murder of his older brother, a chief called Toraya, in the district of Gabu in the D’Entrecasteaux Islands (Malinowski 1922:291-296).
Malinowski mentioned seeing the dance of gumagabu (1916:380). The date of publication indicates that he must have seen it during his first period of fieldwork in the Trobriand Islands, between July 1915 and March 1916. Michael Young described it as a “Type of dance using dancing shields” (1998:283), and “the most popular” of the kaidebu dances (1998:94).

The photograph in Malinowski 1929: plate 14, "Men in Full Festive Attire" and a similar one in LSE (LSE photo archives MALINOWSKI/3/7/13) almost certainly show the gumagabu dance being performed.
Paluwa was a Trobriand Islander of low rank from the village of Omarakana (Malinowski 1967:295). He had three sons, including Monakewo (see below), and three daughters, and “discussed his troubles … at length” with Malinowski (Malinowski 1929:80). Cylinder is cracked, resulting in loud clicks throughout. KilivilaField recordings; Folk songs and music; Narrative songs; BalladsMalinowski, Bronislaw Kasper1'59"Bronislaw Malinowski's 1915-1918 fieldwork on Kiriwina, Trobriand Islands, Papua New GuineaBlack wax cylinderBronislaw Malinowski 1915 – 1918 Trobriand Islands, Territory of Papua Cylinder Collection (C46)British Library
Malinowski, Bronislaw. 1922. Argonauts of the Western Pacific: An Account of Native Enterprise and Adventure in the Archipelagoes of Melanesian New Guinea. London: Routledge. Read this at: https://wolnelektury.pl/media/book/pdf/argonauts-of-the-western-pacific.pdf