Tubuai Choir

Polynesian Odyssey

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This large community choir performs a repertoire of hymns, product of a history of meddling missionaries dating back to the early 1800s, when everything pagan and Polynesian in Tubai's Mahoi culture was first forbidden. Today the Mormons are in the forefront of churches supposedly encouraging an indigenous arts revival, but from the evidence of this release more has been lost than saved. True, we get robust local melodies and multilayered unison singing typical of Polynesian music, but the dough in which these treats are rolled is starched with Protestant piety, robbing the songs of any institutionally unsanctioned joy. While one appreciates the Mahoi's efforts to turn a cultural invasion into a reaffirmation of identity, in the end this disc is just another demonstration of how much the missionaries have to answer for.

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