Traditional Sikaiana songs

These are traditional songs from Sikaiana. They were collected during about 40 months of ethnographic research on Sikaiana between 1980 and 1993. These songs here were composed or learned before Sikaiana’s conversion to Christianity in the 1930s, or if composed after that time, were composed in traditional styles. There was still some composition in traditional style during my stays in the 1980s. These traditional songs can be contrasted with guitar songs which were popular among young people during my stays. There was also a variety of other musical styles on Sikaiana including Western Rock, Country, Popular and Folk style, and hymns sung in church among many other styles.

It should be remembered that the Sikaiana people have undergone significant changes since my stays in the 1980s. Most notably, I have been told that the Sikaiana language is no longer spoken in everyday discourse, although it is known to some of the younger people. I do not know the degree which any of these songs are still being sung.

It should also be remembered that I am relying on notes, translations and transcriptions made over 30 years ago. The songs were recorded under different conditions. Sometimes I recorded groups who had rehearsed the songs and were prepared to be recorded. Other times the recording was more informal. Many recordings were done while the singers were drinking, when I was told they were less inhibited and more comfortable singing.

Below visitors will find a variety of recordings. I suggest that people interested in song styles read the 01 Traditional Songs Introduction and then listen to the Album 1 Collection (with attached explanations) and Album 2 Collection. (The Master Collection was originally recorded on 3 cassettes about 30 years ago, and as I recall for scholars interested in Sikaiana songs and music, and I have digitalized them here into one file.)

In some, but not all, entries below, there will be accompanying files. The files below are mostly mp3 files. Where I have Wav files, they are attached as supplementary files. In some cases, I have attached an explanatory document.




01 Traditional Songs Introduction, William Donner


Album 1 Sikaiana Traditional Songs, Fane Telena, Reuben Tenai, Silas Tilikohu, John Kilatu Dr., Men and Women of Sikaiana, and Bill Donner


Album 2 Sikaiana Traditional Songs, Fane Telena, Reuben Tenai, John Kilatu, Men and Women of Sikaiana, and Bill Donner


Album 3 Sikaiana Traditions, Reuben Tenai, Fane Telena, and Sikaiana Adults


Album 4 traditional Sikaiana songs, Sikaiana Men and Women


Album 5 Sikaiana Traditional Songs, Fane Telena and Sikaiana Women


Album 6 traditional Sikaiana songs, Fane Telana, Reuben Tenai, and Sikaiana men and women