Saturday, October 6, 2012

Gurejele - Kaneka Music From New Caledonia

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post showcases five music videos from the New Caledonian Kaneka music group "Gurejele".

The content of this post is presented for entertainment and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

"New Caledonia (French: Nouvelle-Calédonie) is a special collectivity of France located in the southwest Pacific Ocean, 1,210 kilometres (750 mi) east of Australia and 16,136 kilometres (10,026 mi) east of Metropolitan France. The archipelago, part of the Melanesia subregion, includes the main island of Grande Terre, the Loyalty Islands, the Belep archipelago, the Isle of Pines and a few remote islets. The Chesterfield Islands in the Coral Sea are also part of New Caledonia. Locals refer to Grande Terre as "Le Caillou", the stone."...
[New Caledonia is] "Named by the British explorer Captain James Cook, who spotted similarities with the Scottish highlands, the territory was annexed by France in 1853...

The indigenous Melanesians, [are] known as Kanaks. Kanaks represent about 45% of the population. Europeans, most of them born in the territory, account for about a third of the inhabitants.

The archipelago, which lies around 2,000 km from Sydney, Australia, possesses around a quarter of the world's nickel deposits. The industry boomed in the 1960s but is a hostage to price fluctuations. Nevertheless, New Caledonia enjoys one of the region's highest average incomes per capita.

The main island, Grande Terre, is ringed by a coral reef. Mountains divide the verdant east from a drier west. The territory boasts abundant plant and animal life. Colonial buildings and fine beaches contrast with the infrastructure of the nickel industry."
Click for general information about Melanesia.

Also, read the comment that I wrote below about why I chose to showcase Melanesian music on this blog.

"The music of New Caledonia is rooted in the Melanesian tradition. The Pacific Tempo is an important music festival, held every three years in Noumea; the biennial equinox is also an important celebration.

Modern popular performers include OK! Ryos, Edou and Gurejele, who are at the forefront of the popular Kaneka movement, which began in the mid-1980s. Kaneka fuses traditional styles with pop and world music. The most well-known modern record label on New Caledonia is Alain Lecante's Mangrove Studios, which distributes much of the Kaneka music."
"Gurejele - A major group hailing from New Caledonia, playing music in the Kanaka movement. The group come from the island of Mare and are widely know across the Melanasian nations of the pacific. Some of their tours include Vanuatu, Napuan Festival - 1998, as well as the Solomon Islands where Honiara's stage was filled."

(These videos are presented in no particular order.)
Unfortunately, I don't speak or read any language but English. I'm very interested in knowing the titles & themes in English of all pf these featured songs. Unfortunately, I don't speak or read any language but English.

Video #1: Gurejele - Watolea (Flag)

Uploaded by Michelyse7070 on Oct 28, 2011


"A freedom song from the heart of the South Pacific. New Caledonia is a Melanesian Island under French Colonial rule. The local Kanak band, Gurejele wrote this song "Watolea" which means Flag, in condemnation of colonial rule. "He arrived like a thief. His flag was blue, white and red. And he just proclaimed. That this country would be his forever." At least New Caledonians have not been denied their Right to Self Determination as an independence referendum is due to be held between 2014 and 2019. One day Melanesia will finally be free from colonialism."
From the uploader summary of

"The song 'Watolea' is included on the 2004 compilation album 'Putumayo Presents South Pacific Islands' by the group Gurujele who are one of the most popular Kaneka music groups in the Melanesian region. These musicians are from the island of Maré situated amongst the Loyalty Islands of New Caledonia."

Video #2: Gurejele en live - " Wabeb Bulu "

Uploaded by SAMIRICO67 on Sep 25, 2009

Hnatr de Lifou et Dick de Maré ont su marier leur musique pour creer " Gurejele".
Le groupe fera le tour du Pacifique , des iles Salomon jusqu'à Tahiti .Ce tube " Wabeb Bulu" sera l'un des succés phare de leur premier album " Waero " en 1995 .

Video #3: Gurejele -

Uploaded by SAMIRICO67 on Oct 13, 2009

Dick et Hnatr à leur début avec "Gurejele "

Video #4: GUREJELE - Jured'eme

Uploaded by saminouchka on May 30, 2008

Pour yo Jacinthe qui nous manque terriblement ...

Video #5: " Waipeipeigu " - GUREJELE

Uploaded by SAMIRICO67 on Aug 20, 2011

Live à PARIS La Villette pour une avant première en concertation avec les acteurs et Ambassadeurs des Jeux Du Pacifique Sud .

Les 14 ème Jeux Du Pacifique se tiendront à NOUMEA avec la venue de Nicolas SARKOZY ...

Thanks to the composers and performers of these songs. Thanks also to those whose comments I quoted and to the producers and uploaders of this video.

Finally, thanks for visiting pancocojams.

Viewer comments are welcome.

1 comment:

  1. As a reminder, the purpose of this pancocojams blog is to "showcases the music, dances, and customs of African Americans and of other people of Black descent throughout the world."

    With regard to this post, I feel that I clarify that by "of Black descent", I mean "of some Black African descent".

    Putting aside the fact that the first documented humans were found to reside in East Africa means that if you go back far enough, everyone has been, is, and will be "of some Black African descent", in the past and nowadays, most people in the United States categorize people by race & ethnicity using visual clues. And the dominant visual clue is skin color.

    Given that the past and still current United States [social & not legal] custom of categorizing people is by using the visual clue of skin color, I would categorize many people of indigenous descent from New Caledonia and other Melanesian nations as being "of Black descent". I do so knowing that there is a wide range of skin colors and hair textures of African Americans and of other people of Black descent - in Brazil, South America and in Cape Verde, West Africa to name two nations. I would categorize those people as being of "Black descent". And many of the Melanesian people I have seen via videos and photographs look like many of the people from Brazil and Cape Verde that I have seen via videos and photographs.

    I recognize that "being of some Black descent" may or may not mean the same thing as considering oneself "Black", particularly as widely as "Black" has been defined in the past and in the present in the United States.

    And I also recognize and respect the right of all people -including the people of Melanesia- to define themselves by race/ethnicity* the way that they want to do so or to not define themselves by race/ethnicity at all. Although just because a person doesn't racially define themselves doesn't mean that other people won't attempt to racially define them and also doesn't preclude that person who refuses to define him or herself by race/ethnicity from being subject to the negative consequences of personal racism and institutional racism.

    *When I use "ethnicity" in this comment, I mean "Native American". In the United States, "Native American" is a category and not a race. Native Americans can be of any race.