Mavea Island is a small island in Vanuatu across a small channel east of Loganville, Espiritu Santo Island (commonly referred to as “Santo”). The population is about 200, with only 34 speakers of the Mavea language which is dying out as it is not usually spoken outside of the home, with Bislama (a national language of all the Vanuatu tribes) and English having become prevalent.
We visited Mavea in the afternoon to watch a performance in the waters off the beach by “Water Women”. These Vanuatu women have developed a program of “water music” where they use their hands (and arms) to “play” the water (like drumming) to make rhythmic sounds, accompanied in some songs with their singing – fairly unique and, as a result, they now travel around the Pacific to perform. There is music DVD that has been released (see: www.wantokmusik.org) and a feature length film and DVD made in 2014, “Vanuatu Women’s Water Music”. Some footage from the film can be viewed on YouTube at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UMFazztdbAI