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Post-colonial Reflexivities of ni-Vanuatu Urban Youth in the Muisc Industry
European Society for Oceanists Conference (2012)
  • Thomas Dick, Southern Cross University
  • Monika Stern

The urban music of “developing” countries is a privileged form of expression for young people. Across international borders, musicians identify with each other as opposed to “non-musicians”, but at the same time assert themselves as privileged messengers of the young people of their community, their town and, in some cases, their country in general. Music is often subject to the paradox between admiration and disapproval: the talented musician as star or idol, appearing in the media, wearing “in” clothes, etc, as opposed to the unstable musician who is drugged, alcoholic, unfaithful, incapable, etc.

Today, the nascent music industry in Port Vila (Vanuatu) is a site of many conflicting forces, with the internationalisation of the urban Fest’Napuan festival and action around this event, the adoption of laws and international treaties for the protection of authors’ rights, and the mutual infatuation of, on the one hand, the world music market with this distant and “exotic” music and, on the other hand, the local popularity of imported music such as reggae and other urban styles emanating from post-colonial contexts such as the Caribbean. Young musicians are facing the universal problems of the globalisation of music and culture. Locally, the number of groups is multiplying and a special type of behaviour that we might call “music attitude” is being adopted by a growing number of young people. In this article, we present the situation of young musicians in Port Vila, how they use music to express an identity, the resources available to them and ways in which global elements are blending with local ones.

  • Vanuatu music industry,
  • urban youth
Publication Date
December, 2012
Citation Information
Thomas Dick and Monika Stern. "Post-colonial Reflexivities of ni-Vanuatu Urban Youth in the Muisc Industry" European Society for Oceanists Conference (2012)
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