1957 / STT- 1700 Criterion Records / Tiare Tahiti Records
This was the one that started it all. My husband brought this home one day from the thrift store probably around 2002. I liked the cover of the woman happily dancing in her native hut to an old phonograph. She has some great tapa wallpaper and more fruit then she can possibly eat in one sitting. But she could really be whipping up an appetite dancing to all those records so who knows. There is a slight profile of a tiki in the lower right corner on top of a pahu (drum).
I put it on and was hooked in the first few seconds when I heard the drums. Side one of the record is all songs by the Drummers of Patutoa. All the songs are great but the 2 songs that just use all bamboo instruments are nicely haunting. Plus it has a song called Tahu a (witch doctor!).
Side 2 is more of the Drummers of Patutoa but then goes into 2 songs by Alain Mottet and His Tahitian band. You can't miss when the record transitions into these songs because it sounds quite different. The album ends with the Himene Auae Singers which has no instruments. It's a fine song but why is there a hymn on my drum record?
On the back it says it is authentically recorded by Gaston Guilbert in Tahiti. I soon came to learn that Gaston recorded a lot of records. Him and Eddie Lund make up the backbone of my Polynesian record collection. I can't find much info about Gaston beyond this from discogs:
Gaston Guilbert (December 24, 1907 - August 25, 1992) was a French cinematographer, producer and collector of Tahitian recordings.
Born in Tahiti, Guilbert founded the first professional recording studio of the island before establishing his phonographic company Tiare Tahiti Records.
Also on the back is some text trying to get the listener familiar with this crazy, exotic world of Tahitian music and the bongos (?) they use. There are also some photos from the motion picture, "The Tahitian" by James Knott. I can't find much about this 1956 movie except that it was shot in Tahiti and was about a mosquito born disease. This site has 2 small film clips. Unsure if this LP is music from the film or they just wanted to use stills from it for the back cover.
Overall, this is pretty enjoyable especially the bamboo numbers. The only downside is I had the cover displayed for so many years it got sun faded so time to find another used copy. I didn't think when I got this record that it was starting a collection of Polynesian music that now numbers over 400. So check back, I hope to be posting more from my collection with some regularity.