world music – k

Welcome to World Music – a musical journey around the world. The object of this segment is to showcase artists from around the world, and in particular the musical styles synonymous with each country. I hope you’ve been enjoying the journey so far, and this week we’re going very remote, so I hope you’ve had your jabs for we’re heading to …


The music of Kiribati has been less affected by Western culture than most other Pacific island cultures since Europeans did not arrive in Kiribati until 1892. The national anthem of Kiribati is “Kunan Kiribati” (Song of Kiribati), by I.T. Uriam; it was adopted upon independence in 1979.

Kiribati folk music is generally based on chanting or other forms of vocalizing, accompanied by body percussion. Public performances in modern Kiribati are generally performed by a seated chorus, accompanied by a guitar. However, during formal performances of the standing dance (Te Kaimatoa) or the hip dance (Te Buki) a wooden box is used as a percussion instrument. This box is constructed so as to give a hollow and reverberating tone when struck simultaneously by a chorus of men sitting around it. Traditional songs are often love-themed, but there are also competitive, religious, children’s, patriotic, war and wedding songs. There are also stick dances (which accompany legends and semi-historical stories. These stick dances or ‘tirere’ (pronounced seerere) are only performed during major festivals.

In 1963 Gerd Koch filmed on Tabiteuea traditional dances and songs of the ruoia series: the kawawa, the introductory song and dance; the kamei with a dance leader, the wan tarawa and the kabuakaka; and a bino song and dance complete with accompanying arm movements. Koch also filmed traditions songs and dances on Onotoa and Nonouti.

Traditional Music

Here’s is a sample of traditional Kiribati music.

Featured Artist

Bata Teinamati has been described as one of Kiribati’s most notable musicians.

This week I’m wondering how you feel about the use of the voice as the primary musical instrument. As you would have noticed in the smaller countries they rely heavily on the voice to convey emotion. Do you find this adds to the content or do you miss the production which is predominant in western music?

Take a second and add a comment or a video of your own. We can’t wait to see what you have to say!

See you next Wednesday for our next destination in this music journey, and don’t forget your passport.

© A-DAW Arts


  1. Human voice has been The primordial instrument. Regardless of the country’s size or civilization.
    Nothing can come even close to the cymatics of an expressive voice.

    A most exotic place you have taken us to, DAW.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Assuming that before the ability to make tools came the observation of nature around them, I am hypothesizing that vocal expression proceeded instrumental use.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. This put such a huge smile on my face! The guitar player in the traditional music video had some mad skills! I wish we could have seen the uke player’s strumming hand close-up; it was going a mile a minute! Wonderful, happy vid to start the day!

    The sound of the featured artist of the day was pretty cool. I thoroughly enjoyed the voices as the primary instruments in this song. The actual musical instruments only played about 4 or 5 different notes in the entire piece and were more backup than accompaniment. I’ve no idea what he was singing about but his voice sounded cheerful.

    A good choice to get us over the weekly hump! 🐪

    Liked by 2 people

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