Drum Corps - Bora Bora Style!
12 July 2009 | Vaitape, Bora Bora
After a couple of relaxing days following 4th of July, a bunch of cruisers went to a show in the village of Vaitape. This was one of several evenings where local district dance and drum troupes compete in front of 5 judges for top honors. The parallels to Drum Corps could not be avoided... There are 6 districts on Bora Bora, and each has its own group of singers, dancers, drummers, ukulele's and singers. It's very much a family affair as the moms and dads are singing and strumming while the younger boys are drumming, and the teenagers are doing traditional dance. In the middle left of the picture above is the judges booth, populated by local dignitaries. The pit containing 21 drummers, 6 ukelele's and 5 singers were reinforced by a top notch sound system, with the house speakers on each side of the sandy performance area. The performance area was large enough to host the 75 dancers, who, while doing traditional Tahitian dance, were also doing quite a bit of drill work. In this pic, the guard is set up for a traditional "off the line" move....seriously...The drummers rocked the place hard as the dancers moved forward with some great moves and flashes of color from their costumes. I was able to infiltrate the local crowd next to the drummers to get a better sense for what was going on within the group. The most advanced drummers were in the middle row playing toms, with accents on hollowed out logs. The back row consisted of younger drummers keeping the beat, while the front row played mostly one stick rhythms on a slotted log. After watching these guys for 30 minutes you could tell who was leading, and the kid, all of about 15, had incredible hands with great single and double stroke riffs. Given how long I've been here and how many shows I've seen with Polynesian drummers I really should know more about the fundamentals of how they construct the beat... oh well. What I *can* say is that each troupe of dancers and musicians, except for a couple of standard songs, create very individual songs and rhythms, with dancing that tells very specific stories. After a 45 minute show we got some better pics of the group, since we could not use flash during the show. See the gallery for those shots.