Tahitian music Motu Murimahora, Huahine
21 December 2020
“Popeye, no Cayou, no Cayou!” Lisa and I had just departed in our dinghy from yet another chance encounter with Polynesians. We dinghied to Motu Murimahora just before noon to take pictures of Velocette in the beautiful, turquoise water. There was a group of guys at a picnic table, we asked if it was OK to visit. They welcomed us.
Talking with them after the pictures, we learned they were going to hang out there all day, drink beer and play some music. They invited us to stay. We said it was a bit early for us but could we come back later. They laughed at our reluctance to join them for beer that early and told us to bring our other cruising friends.
Kjell and Kaia from 2K joined us back at the beach around 3:00. The six guys and one woman were still there, drinking beer. They got out their instruments and played some of the sweetest, Polynesian music we have heard. These guys are good! We drank beer with them and enjoyed a plate of cochon savage stew (wild boar). We saw the quarters of the boar hanging when we visited that morning. They joked and laughed about how Gilbert had hunted down the pig, jumped on its back and bit its neck. Gilbert didn't have any teeth! But he did run down the boar and kill it with his machete!
Only one of them had a little English. Kaia and I do OK in French. We translate for Kjell and Lisa. But Lisa said she had a fairly easy time understand them. We had the usual conversations about children, family, etc. They lived in the small village across the lagoon, Tapererii, Tahitian for house of the king. The motu was where they had their small farms. They grew watermelons, taro and bananas. The small house next to their farm was their retreat from the hectic village life. Curiously, there was only one woman there, Mata's wife. She sat well apart from the guys and acted rather bored. We tried to engage her but she seemed content to just hang out.
Tahitian names are difficult for us. But one of them went into the melon patch and cut a watermelon, they call it plastic. It was so sweet and even though it was hot from the sun, refreshing! Gilbert took Kjell and me into the jungle. We came upon another melon patch and a grove of banana trees. With a few swipes of his machete, Gilbert cut down two banana bunches. Kjell and I each took an end of one bunch, Gilbert just hefted the other bunch on his shoulders. These bunches of bananas weight 40 to 50 pounds. We protested that we would share one but Gilbert wouldn't have it!
We asked for more music. They told us they were all one family and had learned to play ukulele, drums and sing since they were small children. I hope you can link to the video https://youtu.be/8QvmDkpUNdw and enjoy their music. I asked if they could play Bobby Holcomb, My Island Home. It is a favorite of mine and I can sing some of the Tahitian as well as English versus. They played and sang it with me. Then it struck me that earlier in the afternoon, one of them asked me, “Why you leave here?” We had told him about our plans to return to the US. Why indeed would I leave my island home? Well, I sort of lost it.
They invited us for Christmas. They said there would be a lot of food and beer. Mata told us they don't need much money, they only need to buy beer and rice. They even used fishing line for stringing their ukuleles. We will have another story about our Christmas in Huahine.
Oh, about the Cayou. Lisa told them I hit a rock with the dinghy motor. Cayou is rock. That's why when we left they were shouting and laughing, “Popeye, no cayou!”