“Ta'iri Pa'umotu”: A typical Polynesian strike

“Ta'iri Pa'umotu”: A typical Polynesian strike - upaupatahiti

If you are interested in practicing the ukulele, you certainly know that there are several ways to play the rhythm on your instrument (and some are easier than others to master!). In Polynesia, there is a typically local mint: it is called "Ta'iri Pa'umotu". Originally from the islands of the Tuamotu archipelago, this very dynamic strike has the particularity of being unique and magnificent. She is particularly involved in "Kaina" music and regularly hosts Polynesian parties. This strike, which can also be played on the guitar, constitutes the Polynesian cultural heritage: its characteristics are explained in this subject.

The particularities of this famous Polynesian strike

Like an art, the "Ta'iri Pa'umotu minting has been transmitted only by ear in families, from generation to generation. The origins of this minting would have several sources: it is said in particular that the hairy Tahitians would have discovered this type strikes from the gypsies and would then have taken it back. Others still say that this Polynesian strike existed long before the Polynesians left for Europe.

Wondering how to play the "Ta'iri Pa'umotu" keystroke? It consists of strumming the ukulele (or the guitar) in a particular way, like a percussion: the rhythm is very sustained! The secret lies in its fingering: the strings of the instrument are strummed only with the index finger and the thumb. With practice, this technique allows you to play for many hours without getting tired. Very practical when it comes to not interrupting the party, an essential thing in Polynesia where the parties can last up to three days! Some chords are also specific: on chords in C for example, the Pa'umotu have the particularity of detuning certain strings: which means that when they play the open strings, it becomes C! In Polynesia, this strike is mainly mastered by the elders and has been marked by big names in fenua such as Petiot and the singer Barthélémy. Unfortunately, with the influence of foreign music on the younger generations, this local hitting technique tends to get lost.


A competition organized in Tahiti to preserve these ancestral musical techniques

Since 2016, to contribute to the preservation of this beautiful cultural heritage, the Maison de la Culture de Tahiti and the Artistic Conservatory of French Polynesia - with the support of the Ministry of Culture - regularly organize the "Ta'iri Pa' umotu", where amateurs and professionals are invited to come and compete in groups, in order to show their virtuosity of this technique. This musical event is greatly appreciated by the Polynesian population, especially the oldest for whom it brings back many memories of youth. Each group has several minutes to play: cover songs or original creations are allowed. At the end of this warm evening, the most talented are rewarded with attractive prizes! During the last edition, in October 2020, the group Tamarii Taenga won the 1st prize, and this for the third time! For fans of Polynesian parties and lovers of local culture, this is a free event in Tahiti not to be missed.

photo credit: House of Culture

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