The Tahitian Choir

Rapa Iti, Vol. 2

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The music of the Tahitian Choir is ineffably Polynesian in its format -- there's plenty of call and response between the male and female members on tracks like "Te Ture a Te Akiri," which also includes vocal percussion punctuation. And there are eerie harmonies, as on "Te Tia Mamoe" or "Te Pure a Te Fatu," a track reminiscent in some ways of South African gospel music, curiously. But there are also moments when the singing can take on unearthly tones, as the voices slide between the microtones -- if it was an LP, you'd think it was slipping or slowing somehow. It's unnerving and somehow psychedelic -- you hear it slightly in the overlapping voices on "Eifiti Fenua Herehia" and on "To Na Tere." On the surface it might sound primitive, but there's a deep sophistication to the female voice flying about the choir on "Te Moko" that's decidedly non-Western. This album is a journey through the rituals of another culture, like "Neki Neki," a work song for preparing tioo root, or "I Roti I Te Are Nei," an introspective piece that soars. It might not be for everyone, but those with some sense of music adventure and openness to truly new sounds will find plenty here.

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