This index lists all of the metadata associated with the digitised audio recordings that are part of the British Library’s Oceanic wax cylinder collections. Through this index you can easily search for and filter information across all of the collections. You may also sort this list by clicking on the column header.

Each row represents a unique cylinder and its contents, arranged by the British Library shelfmark. In some cases more than one performance is recorded on each cylinder.

Click the green ‘plus’ icon to see more information about individual recordings, including a description of the content, the names of recordists and performers, and photographs of the wax cylinders. To listen to the associated recordings, please follow the link to the relevant collection page where the audio player is embedded.

As more collections come online the content of this index will increase.

British Library shelfmarkRecording titlePerformer nameRecording locationRecording dateContent descriptionPerformer descriptionRecording notesInstrumentationLanguagesGenreRecordistRecording lengthRecording tripDescription of cylinderAnnotations on cylinderCollection ownerCollection titleCylinder locationOther object reference Images of cylinder containersRelated print publicationRelated print publication: Related print publication:
C46/1397DobuUnknownTrobriand Islands, Territory of PapuaBetween July 1915 – October 1918The 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).Reasonable quality recording but warbly speed fluctuations throughout. 1. Unaccompanied male vocal group with leader. Leader's voice predominating and others faint.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 cylinderOn lid: 'Dobu' (blue crayon).Malinowski, Bronislaw Kasper Bronislaw Malinowski 1915 – 1918 Trobriand Islands, Territory of Papua Cylinder Collection (C46)British LibraryMalinowski Collection Cylinder No.1
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 PapuaBetween July 1915 – October 1918Gumagabu 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).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. 1. Unaccompanied male vocal solo singing. No further information available.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 cylinderOn box: 'Gumagabu by Paluwa good' (blue crayon).Malinowski, Bronislaw KasperBronislaw Malinowski 1915 – 1918 Trobriand Islands, Territory of Papua Cylinder Collection (C46)British LibraryMalinowski Collection Cylinder No.2
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
C46/1399Usi Tuma / RagayewoMonakewo (singer, male); Tokulubakiki (singer, male)Trobriand Islands, Territory of PapuaBetween July 1915 – October 1918“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).
Surface noise caused by mould. 1-2. Unaccompanied male vocal solo singing.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 cylinderOn box: 'Usi Tuma by Monakeu and Ragayewo by Tokulubakiki' (blue crayon).Malinowski, Bronislaw KasperBronislaw Malinowski 1915 – 1918 Trobriand Islands, Territory of Papua Cylinder Collection (C46)British LibraryMalinowski Collection Cylinder No.3
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/2843398
C46/1400IlakavetegaMonakewo (singer, male)Trobriand Islands, Territory of PapuaBetween July 1915 – October 1918Ilakavetega is a graphic story from Kiriwina known as 'The Reef Heron and Ilakavetega' (Malinowski 1929:341-342). Malinowski transcribed, translated and explained the graphic story of “The Reef Heron and Ilakavetega,” from Kiriwina. Ilakavetega was an old woman who lived with her granddaughters, and there was a song / poem told as part of the story. Malinowski called it a “gratuitous insult” and noted 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. 1. Unaccompanied male vocal solo of spoken text with some sung parts.KilivilaField recordings; Folk tales; StorytellingMalinowski, Bronislaw Kasper2'21"Bronislaw Malinowski's 1915-1918 fieldwork on Kiriwina, Trobriand Islands, Papua New GuineaBlack wax cylinderOn box: 'Ilakavetega by Monakeu' (blue crayon). Note: Malinowski wrote Monakeu on the cylinder box, but referred to Monakewo in his DiaryMalinowski, Bronislaw KasperBronislaw Malinowski 1915 – 1918 Trobriand Islands, Territory of Papua Cylinder Collection (C46)British LibraryMalinowski Collection Cylinder No.4
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 Papua1918-07-17Gumagabu 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).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. 1. Unaccompanied male vocal solo singing.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 cylinderOn box: 'Gumagabu by Paluwa 17/7/18' (blue crayon). Malinowski, Bronislaw KasperBronislaw Malinowski 1915 – 1918 Trobriand Islands, Territory of Papua Cylinder Collection (C46)British LibraryMalinowski Collection Cylinder No.5
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