Vanuatu water music and the Mwerlap diaspora: music, migration, tradition and tourism

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Dick, T 2014, 'Vanuatu water music and the Mwerlap diaspora: music, migration, tradition and tourism', AlterNative: An International Journal of Indigenous Peoples, vol. 10, no. 4.

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Taking the case of the Mwerlap- speaking people from the islands of Gaua and Merelava in northern Vanuatu, this article investigates the forces at play in the mobility of people in Vanuatu. I describe the process by which a diasporic community transitioned into the Leweton Cultural Village in the urban setting of Luganville, Espiritu Santo. In a context of extremely high levels of linguistic and cultural diversity, the research project reported in this article examines the ways in which a diasporic community is navigating an intercultural space by mobilizing itself and its cultural assets in a variety of rapidly evolving formats that span a range of industries, sectors and cultural transition areas. I add to the knowledge and understanding of the significance of subnational diasporas by exploring the role they can play as incubators of cultural export products, particularly in the music and tourism industries, by using the case of the ni- Vanuatu performers of women’s “water music”.

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