Today a good friend of mine sent me a link to a short radio piece that aired on public radio a few years ago. It was so beautiful that I had to share it with all of you. This piece really made me think about all of the amazing kava ceremonies I’ve participated in, both here in Hawaii and in other parts of the world, and all of the beautiful experiences kava has allowed me to have!
This is a recording made by a man named David Fanshawe, an ethnomusicologist who recorded the sacred songs of peoples all over the world in the ’60s and ’70s! He managed to record tons of traditional music that might now be totally lost with the decline of indigenous cultures! During that time he recorded a kava ceremony in Tonga, including this love song called Faikava, which means ‘to do kava’.
In Tonga, kava ceremonies consist of a young, unmarried woman, called the ‘tou’a', serving a group of men kava. The men then often sing love songs or hymns. I bet that this was a great way for an unmarried girl to meet an appropriate husband, since kava is so relaxing and socializing (and can be such a great matchmaker!) There are other types of Tonga kava ceremonies, but this is the most common one.
This recording captures one of those love songs and it is just amazing. You can hear the sound of kava being poured in the background, and the sweetness and harmony of the singing is so beautiful, it brings tears to my eyes! When I listen to this recording I remember being in kava ceremonies, where sometimes we are called to sing or otherwise express ourselves, bonding with the people around me and feeling the intense beauty of life. Kava makes it very easy for me to sing, as it is so relaxing and nice on the throat, and I must admit I often end up singing a song or two after having a cup of kava. It allows me to see the beauty of life so much that I have to express that somehow!
Anyways, please listen to this Tongan Love Song, and let me know if you like it! If you have any other recordings of music influenced by kava, let me know, as well!