The musical traditions of Nauru are similar to that of other Micronesian traditions. However, many of these traditions have been lost over the centuries, and few songs have been recorded. Radio Nauru has made a push to try to record some of the music from the older generations, but even the older generations don’t understand the context of some of these songs. Part of this was due to the fact that the Germans banned much of the traditional music and dance after they annexed the island in 1888. And to follow this, the forced move of over a thousand Nauruans during the Japanese occupation contributed to much of their cultural arts to be lost.
Nauruans are known for their rhythmic singing performed at certain ceremonies and celebrations. I’ve tried to find more information about their traditional reigen music, but all I’ve come across is the same mentions on a handful of articles.
Dancing to traditional music is still regarded as one of the more popular art forms. Like other Micronesian dance traditions, their dances tend to be about their daily life. One dance was called the “dance of the fish” to celebrate their catch (I’m guessing). Because Nauru is an island, fishing is an integral part of their society. After the dance, they would eat the fish. Other forms of dance that is popular throughout the Pacific Islands, like hula dancing, is also performed. Dances can either be dances female only, male only, or mixed.
As far as pop music goes, I’m going to venture to say that they more than likely are influenced by and listen to Australian music. For their own styles, it is a mix of their own traditional styles that are popular throughout the South Pacific and Western styles like pop/rock. I didn’t really find anything on Spotify, but there were a few clips on YouTube. Their traditional-style pop music is typically sung in Nauruan, although I did find one song in English. I didn’t really come across any rock bands, but I did find one rap video from a Syrian-born Nauruan who calls himself MCAK (aka Ali Kharsa) that is sung in English. I thought it was pretty good, even though his accent was still thick in places. But kudos for rapping in a second language. That’s not easy to do.
Up next: the food