As I've mentioned before, between living in a remote place where there's little night life and having two kids, Josh and I don't get out much. But Saturday night we got a last minute call from some good friends who invited us to go and see one of my favorite Tahitian bands, Manahune play live at my favorite new restaurant in Taravao, Terre et Mer. When you live in Teahupoo and there's something going on a mere 20 minutes away you go!
I've been a fan of Manuhune since I arrived in French Polynesia 15 years ago. The word Manahune in ancient Polynesian society meant "the common people" or "working class." Most Polynesians were and still are in this social bracket - today they are the farmers and fisherfolk who effortlessly retain their traditional culture, mixed with some beer and Coca-Cola. The band really lives up to its name. It's powerful music whether you understand the words or not - it's almost like Polynesian rap backed by rock and a bit of jazz. Listening to the forceful lyrics I couldn't help but think of the orero - strong poetic traditional speeches given by orators at Tahitian dance performances and, if you stretch the meaning of the Polynesian art to modern circumstances, political and religious meetings. Orero are what the common people listen to to guide them and Manuhune in essence, give an orero through song. The music is utterly modern yet purely Polynesian.
No one really danced at the show. We were all sitting at tables enjoying a delicious buffet of poisson cru, gratin-baked mussels, salads and assorted meat dishes. I drank an electric blue frozen cocktail that made me want to get up and dance, but the scene just wasn't right for it. A few guys with beers bobbed around in doorways and the only "scene" happened when a guy kept going up and trying to hug the lead singer/guitar player while he was performing. A bouncer finally had to bring the overzealous fan outside. It was actually kind of cute.
But better than explaining, here's a Manune video of one of their most popular songs "Motu":