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Contribution to Book
Dovetailing discourses of emergent resilience in Vanuatu
Songs of Resilience (2011)
  • Thomas Dick, Southern Cross University
  • Marcel Meltherorong
Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, are among the last places in the world where a “‘subsistence economy’ – or ‘traditional economy’ – still outweighs the cash economy in terms of providing livelihoods for the population” (Regenvanu, 2009, p.30). Even though people in the outer islands use cash to pay for soap, tea, sugar, kerosene, metal implements, transport, and school fees, the participation of the 80% of the population (who live outside of the capital) in the traditional economy is far more significant than their involvement with the cash economy (Regenvanu, 2009, p.31). In this chapter the authors draw on their collaborative practice as a non-Indigenous producer (Dick) and an Indigenous performer (Meltherorong) working with musicians, festivals, and events in Vanuatu, New Caledonia, and Australia to consider how resilience is enmeshed in the synthesis of traditional and contemporary Melanesian life. Autoethnographic vignettes, song texts and excerpts from interviews are used to weave together a narrative about the salutary trajectory of Meltherorong’s life, career and how music is a vehicle for expressing struggles, coping with adversity, and affecting change.
  • Vanuatu music,
  • Marcel Meltherorong,
  • resilience,
  • Fest'Napuan
Publication Date
January 1, 2011
Andy Brader
Cambridge Scholars Publishing
Citation Information

Dick, T & Meltherorong, M 2011, 'Dovetailing discourses of emergent resilience in Vanuatu', in A Brader (ed.), Songs of resilience, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle, NSW, pp. 97-120. ISBN: 9781443826525