21 February 2011
08 February 2011
The Trobriand Islands are usually assumed to be well known, thanks to the research of Bronislaw Malinowski and numerous subsequent anthropologists. But in spite of the abundant documentation of other cultural components, the music of the area had been little studied and is almost inaccessible aurally to listeners outside of Papua New Guinea. Therefore, the film 'Kama Wosi' ('Our Songs' in Kilivila language), shot in 1975 by Les McLaren and released in 1979, was a very welcome addition to knowledge of this area. What immediately strikes the viewer familiar with Malinowski's photographs of Trobriand life from 1915-1918 is that few things seem to have changed in 65 years. Even traditional music had not been supplanted by string bands, as the opening credits reveal: 'Although some music was performed expressly for the film, it still functions integrally to Trobriand society.'