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Hoot Blog

Boogie the night away to Fiji's vibrant music culture

 

When you hear a good beat are you instantly compelled to get up and dance? Us too! You don't even necessarily need to be good at dancing - it's just fun to swing around the dance floor, regardless of ability. If you're on the same page as us we know that one trip to Fiji will have you constantly out of your seat and dancing in the streets all the way to the beach.

Music and dance is a major part of Fijian culture, and we've got all the information you need to know about it here.

Types of Fijian music 

For such a small tropical island country, Fiji boasts quite a few different genres of which you will find yourself grooving to.

We'll start with Fiji's traditional folk music - it's the classic blend of instruments that come together to make a sound that lulls you into holiday mode. You know what we're talking about! It's the type of music that incorporates the ukulele, guitar, mandolin and the lali drums. The lali drums are the most unique part of this culture - years ago they were used to announce events like births, deaths, wars or victories to the community. They are still used today, though a little differently as there are rarely wars to be celebrated. Now they call together social gatherings like festivals or announce that it's time for church.

But this island hasn't let themselves fall completely off the music map. In fact, they're actually quite up on the latest beats. Modern music in this country consists of everything from reggae, hip hop, pop to rock. To celebrate music, the country hosts many festivals throughout the year, however they have two quite popular ones: Fiji International Jazz Festival (three days in April) and South Pacific World Music Festival (five days in November). Both of these feature musicians from around the world, and they're quite big events for such a small country! Check to see the exact date as they change year to year.

Types of Fijian dance 

Okay, now that we have the music, we need the dance! Fijian dance culture is based around storytelling - so it's a little different than what the rest of the world's club scene looks like. Don't get us wrong, Fijian clubs know how to boogie, but if you want something more traditional you (usually) won't find it there.

The Fijian Meke is the traditional dance of the country. This combination of dance and story telling is performed to recall old legends of war and life on the island. Men are expected to use big, strong movements whereas women dance with more elegance and grace. You'll know you're at a meke because there is lots of chanting and rhythmic clapping to the beat of the lali. Modern dance here is also heavily influenced on Indian culture. The Bharathnatym and kathak are as popular the meke, though they are a little bit more intricate and softer in terms of movement. They are both another interesting storytelling dance.

There are tonnes of places you can experience these dances - the moves are still taught to children in schools so the culture remains rich! While no one is discouraging you from breaking out your own moves on the dance floor, but there are some pretty cool styles we think you should try (or at least watch) as long as you're in Fiji.

When you leave Fiji, don't let the party stop! Bring home the music and dance of the country and show it off to all your friends and family.