Fijian Music



This article discusses the various genres of Fijian Music. Meke is the first genre as this is one of the ways oral traditions and legends were passed down through hundreds of years of Fijian civilization.

Fijian music has evolved through the ages with arrival of Kaivalagi and the many musical instruments.

Sigidrigi – the two types
There are two types of sigidrigi or (sigi drigi comes from the English “Sing and drink” – as Samisoni Pareti pointed out to me was common knowledge). The first is called sere bass and the second called trio phased out sere bass in the the 1990’s. A common sere bass group was the Caucau ni Delai Setura. The music genre is close to the traditional singing done in a meke.

The sere bass have three vocal parts the lagalaga (leading voice), the tagica/tarava (a higher sounding vocal) and the druku/drugu a group of bass male singers. The trio has the first two solo vocals but instead of a bass group a third solo vocal called the domo tolu/vababa or tena.

Listen to the Caucau ni delai Setura and contrast to the Voqa ni Ua Kei Davetatabu trio below.


Vude – the origin
The Disco era between 1970 – 1979 was influential to the birth of Vude. Vude originally means floating in water. However, in the 1980’s Vude became the term used for a genre of music that was probably started by Laisa Vulakoro and Seru Serevi. Vude was probably derived from the vision of the bobbing heads and the swaying of patrons in nightclubs dancing the night away to the faster beat of Vude songs – in contrast to the traditional sigidrigi.

Vude then introduced the use of other musical instruments inluding the keyboard, drums, bass guitar and the electric rythm guitar. Sigidrigi, the predecessor to Vude, used only the ukulele and the acoustic guitar and sometimes the bass guitar.


The gospel genre is self explanatory. Fijian gospel was mainly choir from the beginnings of Christianity in Fiji. More recently from the 70’s Fijian gospel became influenced by pentecostal groups introducing guitars, drums, the keyboard and other instruments.

More recently reggae music has had an influence in Fijian Gospel such as this song Sa Balavu na Gauna


Meke is a broad term in the Fijian language, primarily referring to all traditional style of dance. It is a cognate of the words “maka” (Rotuman) and “mele” (Hawaiian). It is typically performed during celebrations and festivals. Traditionally the dances that comprise the meke art form are performed by groups of men only or women only, however, foreign influences, such as the male/female Tongan ma’ulu’ulu becoming the Fijian vakamalolo, are evident throughout.

Professor Friedrich Ratzel in his 1896 publication (Macmillan of London), The History of Mankind,[1] writes about the Fijian meke as both song and dance which only a few are given to invent and which those who do, allege that they do so in the spirit world where divine beings teach them the song and the appropriate dance. He wrote that the ideal of the Fijian poet is poetry with every verse ending with the same vowell of regular measure, which, in practice is often achieved with poetic license through the use of arbitrary abbreviations or lengthenings, and omission of articles, etc.

Posted by Aisea Raturaga

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