Songs from Polynesia from Smithsonian Folkways

Polynesia is a region featuring over a thousand islands roughly grouped as a triangle with Hawaii at the northern most point Polynesian culture can be categorized into three distinct groups: West Polynesia, East Polynesia and Polynesian Outliers. Their ancestry can be traced back to Southeast Asia, when the maritime explorations moved throughout the area, eventually creating settlements in Polynesia. The traditional music of Polynesia is based on poetic texts that are metaphorical and filled with allusions. The sound is both melodic and rhythmic, featuring duple-meter and accelerated tempo changes. Songs often end in a downward trailing off of the instruments being played. Listen to a sample of Polynesian music from the Smithsonian Folkways collection.