List of Oceanic and Australian folk music traditions

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This is a list of folk music traditions, with styles, dances, instruments and other related topics. The term folk music can not be easily defined in a precise manner; it is used with widely varying definitions depending on the author, intended audience and context within a work. Similarly, the term traditions in this context does not connote any strictly-defined criteria. Music scholars, journalists, audiences, record industry individuals, politicians, nationalists and demagogues may often have occasion to address which fields of folk music are distinct traditions based along racial, geographic, linguistic, religious, tribal or ethnic lines, and all such peoples will likely use different criteria to decide what constitutes a "folk music tradition". This list uses the same general categories used by mainstream, primarily English-language, scholarly sources, as determined by relevant statements of fact and the internal structure of works.

These traditions may coincide entirely, partially or not at all with geographic, political, linguistic or cultural boundaries. Very few, if any, music scholars would claim that there are any folk music traditions that can be considered specific to a distinct group of people and with characteristics undiluted by contact with the music of other peoples; thus, the folk music traditions described herein overlap in varying degrees with each other.

Oceania and Australia[edit]

Country Elements Dance Instrumentation Other topics
White Australian bush ballad - country music bush dance lagerphone - wobbleboard
Indigenous Australian[1] Wangga dance didgeridoo songline
Cook Islander[2] imene metua - imene tuki koauau - paatere - purerehua
Easter Islander[2] kauaha - upaupa
Fiji[2] meke i wau - meke iri - meke wesi - seasea - vakamalolo derua - slit drum
Hawaiian[3][4][5][6] hula - kepakepa - mele - oli hula ipu - pahu - puniu - rattle
Maori[2] haka - poi
Marquesas Islander[2] haka puaka
Marshall Islander[2] Jebua
Papua New Guinea[7][8] string band garamut - kundu - rattle - susap haus tambaran - sing-sing
Samoan[2] hiva usu fa'ataupati - ma'ulu'ulu - sasa - siva Samoa lali - logo - nafa - pandanus - pate ali'i - fiafia - tulafale
Solomon Islander[8] panpipe
Tahiti[2] himene tarava 'aparima - 'ote'a slit drum
Tongan[2] action-song - hiva kakala - kava papalangi lakalaka - me'etu'upaki - 'otuhaka - ula conch - lali - nose-flute - nafa faikava - fiafia - hulohula
Tuvalu[2] fatele

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Breen, Marcus, "The Original Songlines" in the Rough Guide to World Music, pp. 8 - 19
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Linkels, Ad, "The Real Music of Paradise", in the Rough Guide to World Music, pp. 218 - 229
  3. ^ Manuel, Popular Musics, pp. 237 - 239
  4. ^ Cooper, Mike, "Steel and Slide Hula Baloos", in the Rough Guide to World Music, pp. 56 - 62
  5. ^ Lornell, pp. 79 - 80
  6. ^ World Music Central Archived 2006-02-07 at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ Manuel, Popular Musics, p. 242
  8. ^ a b Feld, Stephen, "Bamboo Boogie-Woogie", in the Rough Guide to World Music, pp. 183 - 188


  • Broughton, Simon and Mark Ellingham (eds.) (2000). Rough Guide to World Music (First ed.). London: Rough Guides. ISBN 1-85828-636-0.
  • Manuel, Peter (1988). Popular Musics of the Non-Western World. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-505342-7.
  • Philip V. Bohlman; Bruno Nettl; Charles Capwell; Thomas Turino; Isabel K. F. Wong (1997). Excursions in World Music (Second ed.). Prentice Hall. ISBN 0-13-230632-8.
  • Fujie, Linda, James T. Koetting, David P. McAllester, David B. Reck, John M. Schechter, Mark Slobin and R. Anderson Sutton (1992). Jeff Todd Titon (Ed.), ed. Worlds of Music: An Introduction to the Music of the World's Peoples (Second ed.). New York: Schirmer Books. ISBN 0-02-872602-2.
  • "International Dance Glossary". World Music Central. Archived from the original on February 7, 2006. Retrieved April 3, 2006.