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Music of Niue

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Title: Music of Niue  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Music of the Cook Islands, Fakanau, Music of Tokelau, Music of Tuvalu, Music of Samoa
Collection: New Zealand Music, Polynesian Music
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Music of Niue

The music of Niue has a long history. Niue is a Polynesian island in the South Pacific. Though independent, it is in free association with New Zealand.

History of Music

The Niue culture and tradition is also rich in music. However, most of the very traditional Niuean songs are sung without the use of any musical instruments. The only instrument that is used for the very traditional dances is a wooden drum known in Niuean as palau or nafa, made out of a carved trunk of the selie tree. The use of the instrument is mainly to provide a beat for the dances.


The main dance for celebrating the opening of a new building, facility, wedding, or birthday is the tame. The tame involves singing with guitars, ukuleles and sometimes using a musical keyboard. It accompanies a dance that has different actions to go with the meaning of the song. Both men and women dance together in a tame. Most of the time the women will dance while sitting down while the men dance while standing. However, this has nothing to do with status, as Niue women and men have equal status in the Niue society.


As Niue modernized, its music began to be influenced by other cultures. Manaia Studio and the Niue Broadcasting Corporation are the only recording studios on the island. There are many Niue artists who have made it to the top. But Pauly Fuemana of OMC (Otara's Millionaires Club) is half Niuean and half Māori, became the first New Zealander to reach the top of the charts in 12 countries with his hit "How Bizarre" which sold over 3 million albums which makes him the most successful Pacific Music Artist ever.The Fuemana Family is the most successful pacific family with over 12 NZ music awards between. The musician Che Fu is very popular, and has won several Tui Awards, a New Zealand music award. This is an enormous achievement for a country with only a few thousand people, as other countries bigger than Niue have yet to reach those heights conquered by these Niuean artists. The Kilakokonut Krew group and record label is also made up of Niuean artists Vela Manusaute and Glen Jackson. The migration of Niueans to New Zealand also make greater influences on Niuean music. There are up-and-coming artists, such as MC Kava, who now sing in contemporary styles of music like rap, hip-hop and reggae.

There are also many Niuean artists who have produced records in Niuean language, groups like Island Pride, PNG Highlanders, Victa Talima, TA5, Moana Lukeluke & Tony.T & Ian Hipa & Island Pride & Nu Beat & Tama Niue Mooli and a lot of other artists to name. Fuata Muta was the first Niuean group to play and record their own music albums. From the actual playing of the instruments to the engineering and mixing the songs at one of Sydney's largest recording studios in 1985 and 1986. Church choirs are also common, however they sing traditional hymns with no instrumental accompaniment at all.

Two Niuean LPs have been released, as well as several tapes and CDs.

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