Tahitian & Cook Islands Music

The tunes and hulas of Tahiti generally are faster and wilder than those of Hawai'i. ("Minoi Minoi" is the Tahitian "Mah-Na Mah-Na.") While Tahitian drums are paramount, other typical instruments are nose flute, coconut ukuleles, and accordion (or concertina). There are traditional recordings, ones with electric guitar, curious exotic-rock efforts, and even Carlos Rubio's unexpectedly crazy and wonderful mix of bossa nova and Tahitian.

The truly traditional Tahitian type of music is the chant, in which singing closely follows drumming. Also there are native instruments such as the bamboo nose flute, log, ukulele, and bongos. The Spaniards introduced the guitar in 1772, followed by the English missionaries with their hymns in 1797. The German traders later brought the concertina, a small accordion that figures prominently in Tahitian folk music.

Most of the better Tahitian records were recorded beautifully under the auspices of Gaston Guilbert or Eddie Lund. Arriving in Papeete in 1936, Oregon pianist Lund quickly learned the language and established himself in a band at Quinn's niterie in Papeete. Beginning in 1943 he wrote a substantial portion of Tahiti's music. Also he travelled to outlying islands to tape native performers, many of whom had never seen a microphone. In 1948 he started Tahiti Records, first publishing 78s. Some of the first records were used in the movie "Tanga Tika." As dedicated as Genoa Keawe on Hawaii's 49th State label (which also released some Tahitian lps), Lund and Guilbert captured inspired, creative performances as well as more predictable, traditional fare. And it is mostly great. As the Tahitians say, tamouré! (enjoy yourself -- party)!

Buying: In addition to LPs by Guilbert, Lund, and 49th State, albums by Charles Mauu and Augie Goupil are first picks.

Tahitian LPs

7Maurice Bitter, rec.: Polynesie Heureuse (jacket: "Folklore et Musiques de l'Univers: Polynesie"; BAM LD-5755 (Paris, France)
5Catamaran Serenaders: Tempos of Tahiti; MGM SE-4091
7Chango & the Polynesians: Polynesian Percussion; Premier/Directional Sound DS-5012; 1961 (may feature Chaino)
6"Coco" et son Groupe Folklorique "Temaeva": Tiurai--Tahiti Festival; Manuiti 3203 (live)
7Augie Goupil & his Royal Tahitians: Tahitian Rhythms 10"; Decca DL-5226; c.1950 (78 album A-34; 6 of the 8 cuts reissued on 12" LP Thurston Knudson & Augie Goupil: Tahitian Rhythms & Jungle Drums; Decca DL-8216)
8[Gaston Guilbert] The Drums of Bora Bora & Songs of Tahiti; Criterion/Tiare Tahiti SST-1600; 1956 (reissues include color-jacket Capitol ES press and a Pan Am version with liner/photo changes)
6[Gaston Guilbert] The Beat of Tahiti; Criterion/Tiare Tahiti STT-1700; 1957
[Gaston Guilbert] Tahiti Fete! [volume 1]; Criterion/Tiare Tahiti TT-1800-A/B; 1958 (2 volumes; reissued with red band at the jacket top in electronic stereo)
6[Gaston Guilbert] Tahiti Fete! [volume 2]; Criterion/Tiare Tahiti TT-1800-C/D (2 volumes; reissued with red band at the jacket top in electronic stereo)
6[Gaston Guilbert] Punaauia Serenaders: Tamure! Tamure!; Tiare Tahiti STT-1900; 1960
7[Gaston Guilbert] Drums of the South Seas; Tempo TT-2254
7[Gaston Guilbert] Voices of the Atolls & Zizou Bar Trio: South Seas Honeymoon; Capitol T-10080 (reissued as Ta'u Tahiti/Mon Tahiti; Criterion/Tiare Tahiti TT-2000 and in ES with different jacket as STT-2000)
7[Gaston Guilbert] Charles Mauu, Loma..: Tahiti--Dream Island; Capitol STAO-10281 (reissued as Criterion/Reo Tahiti SRT-540)
6[Gaston Guilbert] Quinn's Combo & the Tahitian Native Group: Tahiti Yesterday & Today; RCA Victor LSP-3344; 1965
6[Gaston Guilbert]: Tahiti--Island of Paradise; MGM SE-4082
7Eddie Lund & his Native Tahitians Presents Tahiti Dances, Vol. 1 10"; Tahiti (5 cuts reissued on 12" LPs; 3 cuts not)
7Eddie Lund & his Native Tahitians Presents Tahiti Dances, Vol. 2 10"; Tahiti (6 cuts reissued on 12" LPs; 2 cuts not)
7Eddie Lund & his Native Tahitians: Tahiti Dances; Tahiti [no #] (same jacket art as 10" Vol. 1; last cut is not on the 10" LPs; probably reissued as Criterion/Tahiti EL-1001)
7Eddie Lund & his Native Tahitians: Tahiti Dances; Tahiti TR-201 (photo jacket; 1 cut is new/different than on previous 12" edition; possibly reissued as Criterion/Tahiti EL-1001)
6Eddie Lund & his Tahitians: Rendezvous ŕ Tahiti; Criterion/Tahiti EL-1002
7Eddie Lund & his Tahitians featuring Mila Spitz: To the South Seas; Criterion/Tahiti EL-1003 (or no #; pan-Polynesian)
7Eddie Lund & his Tahitians: Call of the Coral Isles; Tahiti EL-1004 (second jacket features Sylvain photo)
6Eddie Lund & his Tahitians & Mila: I Remember Tahiti; Tahiti EL-1005
6Eddie Lund & his Tahitians: L'Echo d'un Lointain Lagon; Tahiti EL-1006 (famous Sylvain jacket photo)
Eddie Lund Presents...[title unknown]; Tahiti EL-1007
8Eddie Lund Presents...: Meet Me in Tahiti; Tahiti EL-1008 (rare, reissued in ES with new jacket art)
Eddie Lund Presents...[title unknown]; Tahiti EL-1009
6Eddie Lund & his Tahitians: Haka Moko--Paumoto Drums, Songs, & Chants; Tahiti EL-1010 (New Zealand version is Tahiti VSP-8; color photo by Sylvain)
7Eddie Lund Presents...The Mutiny Drums Play Sharkskin Concerto; Tahiti EL-1011
6Eddie Lund Presents...Make Mine Tahitian; Tahiti EL-1012
Eddie Lund Presents...South Sea Island Festival; Tahiti EL-1013
Eddie Lund Presents...Pepe & the Rarotongans: Rarotonga; Tahiti EL-1014 (probably same as Siren Songs of the South Seas; Viking/Olympic 6153)
Eddie Lund Presents...Will Crummer & the Seastars: Tahiti Meets Manihiki; Tahiti EL-1015
7Eddie Lund Presents...Loma avec l"Orchestre Hotel Tahiti: Tahiti--Mon Amour; Tahiti EL-1016 (aparima et otea; partly exotic rock)
6Eddie Lund Presents...Aparima et Otea; Tahiti EL-1017 (1/2 drums; w/Hiriata et son Choeur, Salamon et ses Batteurs, Maono et le Groupe de Patutoa)
6Eddie Lund Presents...Mariterangi/Jean Masson: Ua Reka Mariterangi; Tahiti EL-1018; 1965
5Eddie Lund Presents...Bora Bora; Tahiti EL-1019
6Eddie Lund Presents...Les Barefoot Boys et Loma: Au Tahiti Village; Tahiti EL-1020; 1966
7Eddie Lund Presents...Saloman et le Groupe Tiare Tahiti avec Loma: Salut a Aitutaki; Tahiti EL-1021; 1966
8Eddie Lund Presents...Les "Mama Ruau" Mormones: Tempo-Tuamotu; Tahiti EL-1022; 1966
Eddie Lund Presents...Les Barefoot Boys et Loma: Encore!; Tahiti EL-1023
6Eddie Lund Presents...[Various:] For Beachcombers Only; Tahiti EL-1024 (Eddie Lund & his Tahitians, Sam Koki & the Islanders, Loma & the Barefoot Boys, Daphne Walker & the Kiwis)
6Eddie Lund Presents...Les Barefoot Boys: Bar Lea; Tahiti EL-1025
6Eddie Lund Presents...Otea Tare Tahiti/Saloman et son Groupe: Tane te Vahine; Tahiti EL-1026
6Eddie Lund Presents...Loma avec ses Copains; Tahiti EL-1027
6Eddie Lund Presents...Marie Terangi et les Bel Air Boys: Paumotu Party au Bel Air; Tahiti EL-1028
7Eddie Lund Presents...L'Orchestre Hotel Tahiti: Hotel Tahiti; Tahiti EL-1029
Eddie Lund Presents...Vahine Kavarava; Tahiti EL-1030
Eddie Lund Presents...Tahitian Favorites; Tahiti EL-1031
Eddie Lund Presents...Island Dream Music; Tahiti EL-1034
5Eddie Lund Presents...Eddie Lund & his Tahitians: Paumotu Guitar; Tahiti EL-1036 ST
7Eddie Lund Presents...Eddie Lund & his Tahitians: Teura Vahine; Tahiti EL-1038 ST (Reheva Tehahe/Paulina & her Otea Tiare Tahiti)
6Eddie Lund & Tahitians: Rendezvous in Tahiti; Decca DL-8189
7Eddie Lund & Tahitians: Your Musical Holiday in the South Seas; Decca DL-8608
7Eddie Lund & Ceremonial Musicians from "Mutiny on the Bounty": A Musical Adventure in Magic Tahiti; Columbia CS-8701; 1962
7Eddie Lund & Tahitians/Mutiny on the Bounty Drummers: Tahitian Paradise; ABC-Paramount ABCS-444; 1962
5Eddie Lund: Mai Tai Time; Capitol/Tower T-5001 (organ)
7Maeva & Manuia: Otuitui-Tahiti; Criterion/Reo Tahiti RTS-520; 1965 (partly rock; most songs by Eddie Lund but produced by Michael Goldsen)
5Nat Mara & his Tahitians: Welcome to Tahiti/Tahiti Voila!; Viking/Olympic 6162 (Nat Mara, Tony Taukaki, the Tahitians, and Vilisi)
8Charles Mauu & his Royal Polynesians: Polynesia!; Capitol T-483 (reissues 10")
6Charles Mauu, his Coconut Uke & Roche's Tahitians: Tamuré Tahiti; Dot DLP-25494 (Criterion/Reo Tahiti SRT-550)
6Francis Maziere [recorded]: The Gaughin Years--Songs & Dances of Tahiti; Nonesuch H-72017
8Mokulani: Twilight in Tahiti; Repeat RS-170-9
7Madeleine Moua et les Ballets Heiva: Chants et Danses de Tahiti 10"; Le Chant du Monde LD-S-4238
7Madeleine Moua et les Ballets Heiva: A Vous Tahiti; Philips 840.531-BY
7Madeleine Moua et les Ballets Heiva: Tamoure a Tahiti; Philips FL-5080 (Japanese repackaged reissue of A Vous Tahiti)
The Polynesians -- see Hawaii page for all titles
7Pepe & her Rarotongans: Siren Songs of the South Seas--Music of the Tropical Isles; Everest 6153 (Cook Islands; US release of a New Zealand Viking recording)
8Te Popaa Groupe & Les Tahitians: I Left My Heart in Tahiti; Criterion/Reo Tahiti SRT-570 (Lund)
7Revue Tahiti Nui: Tahiti Nui; Barclay 920.457; 1974 (France; group formed from amateurs)
8Carlos Rubio: Tamouré; Fontana SRF-67515/MGF-27515 (UK label)
5The South Sea Champion Drummers: Pahu Tahiti!; Dot DLP-25297 (Criterion/Reo Tahiti SRT-560)
4The South Sea Serenaders: Beachcomber Serenade; Criterion/Tahiti TR-200; 1950-55
7Takiti Ma: Instrumental Ukulele Guitare & Co.; Tamure Records/Editions Manuiti 3009
7Terorotua & his Tahitians: The Lure of Tahiti; ABC-Paramount ABCS-271
7Teva avec le Groupe Teura; Hei Tiare YF-202
7Tihati's Bora Bora'e; Tihati [no #] ("Don Over Presents...")
6Timi et ses tahitians: Amour et Tamoure; RCA Victor Gala CGP-146 (Montreal)
6Tipi & Simon at the Princess Heiata: Paumotu Style in Tahiti: Waikiki 2000 (live; part of the Hibiscus Series HLS-29, a South Seas diversification effort by the great Hawaiian label; also says "Adventures in Sound," tho nothing to do with the Columbia series)
8Toti's Tahitians: Tahiti Dances; 49th State LP-3422
8Toti's Tahitians: Toti's Tahitians: Native Drums & Songs by Toti's Tahitians (jacket: Little Brown Gal--Drums of Tahiti by Toti's Tahitians); 49th State LP-3426
6Uncredited: Drums of Bora Bora & Papeete; 49th State LP-3422
5Uncredited: Polynesia; Sutton SSU-337
Unknown: Call of the South Seas; Tahiti
Unknown: I Dream of Tahiti; Capitol
7Various: Love Songs of Tahiti; Waikiki 322 (Terii Rua & his Royal Tahitians, Gabby Pahinui, Iwalani Kahalewai, Fely Kamaki, Royal Tahitians [Trio], George Delanux & his Trio, Charles Miller & Trio)
7Various: Special Ute-Tamure; Tamure 3005 (w/Charles Mauu; arr. Yves Roche)
6Various: Tahiti Parade--chants de defiles/Polynesian chants & rhythms; Manuiti 3021 (Bimat, Groupe Folklorique Tiare Tahiti, Groupe Folklorique Maeva Tahiti)

Partly Tahitian LPs

7Hal Aloma: The Lure of the Islands; Dot DLP-25057 ("Tahitian Drums")
8Hal Aloma at the Luau 400; Dot DLP-25367
8Hal Aloma Sings Island Songs; Dot DLP-25451
7George Barr & the Islanders: Music for Polynesian Dancing; Hoctor HLPS-4190; 1974? (directed by Loki Ontai)
6The Bonaires: Polynesian Sunset; Dot DLP-25585 (vocal group similar to the Invitations, w/orch. led by Sam Kaapuni)
7Lanakila Brandt: Polynesian Potpourri; Mahalo M-4003; 1963
7Jerry Byrd: Byrd in Hawaii; Maple MA-1002; 1976 (Canada; "Sweet Sweet Steel Guitar Series No. 2"; with Pua Almeida, Sol Kamahele, Nina Kealiiwahamana..; "Tiare No Tahiti")
6Webley Edwards & Hawaii Calls: Waikiki!; Capitol DT-772
8Siegfried Fink/Das Wurzburger Percussions Ensemble: Talking Drums; Gema/Capella/Thorofon MTH-124 (drums; "Les Echanges")
7Chick Floyd: Hula-La; Liberty LST-7106; 1958 (w/Martin Denny Group, Danny Stewart, Pua Almeida, Barney Isaacs, Sonny Kamahele..)
7Jon Hall Brings Music from Hawaii; Mercury (uncredited live lounge act/Hawaiian/exotica/Tahitian "Minoi Minoi E"; abridged as Mercury Wing SRW-12510)
6Haunani: Trade Wind Islands; Capitol ST-1203; 1959 (Haunani Kahalewai; Hawaiian with 1 Tahitian & 1 Fijian song)
7Haunani: Aloha from Haunani; Decca DL-74705 ("Tanga Tika")
7Haunani: Moon of the Southern Seas; Capitol ST-1381
5Haunani!; Capitol ST-1700
7The Hawaiian Islanders: Enchantment from Hawaii; Cameo SC-1035 (w/some Tahitian tunes, a Ted Auletta original, & a hula-jazz treatment of "On the Beach at Waikiki")
8The Surfers: Tahiti; HIFI R-417
7The Surfers: The Islands Call; HIFI R-427 ("Tahiti Nui")
7The Hawaiian Surfers at Duke Kahanamoku's; Decca DL-74562 (Hawaiian/exotica/Tahitian; vocal group live in Waikiki w/photo & endorsement by Duke Kahanamoku; Clayton Naluai, Alan Naluai, Pat Sylva, Bernie Ching)
4The Hawaiian Surfers: Coral Reef; Decca DL-74700 ("Minoi Minoi")
7Harry Hougass[ian]: Guitare Hawaiienne; DOM 2008 (Hawaii/steel/Tahiti/exotic rock; 2-LP; France)
8The Island-Aires in a Hawaiian Interlude; Romance IA-711 (Hawaii/lounge act/Tahiti/exotica "Bali Hai")
8Eddie Kamae Presents The Sons of Hawaii; Hawaii Sons 1001 ("Tomi Tomi")
7Wainani Kanealii: Songs of the Pacific; Sounds of Hawaii SHS-5021 (Hawaii/Tahiti/Fiji/Samoa/slack key/vocal)
6Ray Kinney/Harold Hakuole & the Villagers/Nalani/The Kuuipos: Luau at Waikiki; RCA Victor LSP-2885; 1969 (Hilton Hawaiian Village)
8Thurston Knudson: The Rhythm of Tropic Drums 10"; Tempo TT-2212
8Thurston Knudson: Alibi for Drums 10"; Tempo TT-2266 (w/Danny Stewart, Sam Koki, George Worth, Milt Holland)
7Thurston Knudson & Augie Goupil: Jungle Drums 10"; Decca DL-5426; 1952 (78 album A-718; 1949;; also as Side 2 of Tahitian Rhythms & Jungle Drums; Decca DL-8216; tunes: Conga Kongo, Te Moana, Orare Orare, Marara, Rhumba Uganda, Samba Tembo)
6Henry Mancini: Charade ST; RCA Victor LSP-2755; 1963 ("Orange Tamoure")
5Jack de Mello/Marie Tarangi Trio: James Michener's Favorite Music of Hawaii; RCA Victor LSP-2150; 1959
7Ernie Menehune Presents Enchanting Songs of the Islands: Back to Aloha Land; Heath/Roadrunner S-1313 ("Minoi Minoi"--different than 45 version)
5MGM Symphony Orchestra: Mutiny on the Bounty ST; MGM Deluxe Edition 1E4 (box w/book; cond. Robert Armbruster, comp. Bronislau Kaper)
5James Michener's Favorites of the South Seas; RCA Victor LSP-2995; 1965
7Gabby Pahinui/Alvin Kalanikau Isaacs, Jr.: Hawaiian Slack Key; Waikiki 320 (with three Tahitian tunes)
7Johnny Poi & the Oahu Islanders: Aloha Hawaii; Design DLP-130 ("Tahiti")
6The Royal Tahitian Dance Company: Monitor Presents...; Monitor MFS-758; 1974 (w/1 Augie Goupil composition)
5The Royal Tahitians: Soft Sounds from the South Seas; Dot DLP-25305
5The Royal Tahitians: Soft Sounds from the South Seas Vol. 2; Dot DLP-25411
5The Royal Tahitians: Soft Sounds from the South Seas Vol. 3; Dot DLP-25485
4The Royal Tahitians: Soft Sounds from the South Seas Vol. 4; Dot DLP-25623
5The Royal Tahitians: Melodies from the South Seas; Dot/Hamilton HLP-12123 (compilation)
8Johnny Spencer & the Kona Koasters: s'Pacifica; Imperial LP-9076 (exotica/Hawaiian/Tahitian/Latin; other recordings by them are on the Waikiki label)
Don Tiare: Strings Over the South Seas; Dot DLP-12483
Bill Wolfgramme & his Islanders: Sounds of Hawaii; Fiesta FLPS-1701
4Tihati's South Seas Spectacular
[Unknown]: Tahiti--Ile de Paradis; MGM (Criterion/Reo Tahiti SRT-530)
5Various: Adventures in Paradise; ABC-Paramount ABCS-329
5Various: Adventures in Paradise Vol. 2; ABC-Paramount ABCS-358
5Various: Adventures in Paradise Vol. 3; ABC-Paramount ABCS-414
5Various: Adventures in Paradise Vol. 4; ABC-Paramount ABCS-

Tahitian 45s & EPs

8Andy Cummings & his Hawaiian Serenaders: My Waikiki Girl/I'm a [Down-Hearted] Tahitian Cowboy; Decca 9-29773
8Thurston Knudson & Augie Goupil: Jungle Drums EP; Decca ED-716 (2-disc set comprising the 6 tunes on 10" LP Decca DL-5226 plus "Paoa" & "Tahiti Api")
Pierre et Colette Landry: Chants Tahitiens; Philips EP B-76.016-R
6Mottet: Tahiti; Philips EP 432.184-BE (France; prod. Darnois & Putigny & recorded by famous photographer Sylvain)
Teaitu Mariterangi: Paumotu!; Criterion EP-45 RPM-RT-419 (Eddie Lund)
8Uncredited: Moorea Aimeo EP; Sylvain TP-101 (French picture sleeve promoting hotel Aimeo on the island of Moorea; Otea Moorea, Tamarii a Fetia, Ute, Vinivini, Vaa, Ute Pao Pao)

Tahitian 78s (10")

8Augie Goupil & his Royal Tahitians: Marcelle Vahine (Ute)/Maruru a Vaw; Decca 1326
8Augie Goupil & his Royal Tahitians: [Decca Presents an Album of] Tahitian Rhythms [Played by Augie Goupil & his Royal Tahitians]; Decca 78 album A-34 (10 singles, 2252-6 A&B: O Tahiti, Tupaha, Paoa, Tahiti Api, Hitiraa, Tiare Tahiti, Tau Here, Manue, Taata Hu'a, My Miri; w/Bob Nichols on steel guitar & Thurston Knudson; partly on Thurston Knudson & Augie Goupil: Tahitian Rhythms & Jungle Drums; Decca DL-8216)

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