New Zero-G Release Features Sounds of Polynesia

Zero-G has released Sounds of Polynesia, a unique virtual instrument that features the sounds of Polynesia and the South Pacific.

Sounds of Polynesia is a unique virtual instrument for everyone who would like to discover the rich sounds of the South Pacific and use them in their music. The sample library was produced by Airileke (‘Airi’) Ingram who recorded a host of indigenous instruments. There are also village ambience tracks from Airi’s village Gabagaba in Central Province of Papua New Guinea and Munum village in the Morobe Province, and spoken and chanted vocals. Most of the instruments featured in this amazing product come from Papua New Guinea (‘PNG’), a nation in the western region of the South Pacific Ocean, to the north of Australia. It is one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world with over 800 languages and over 3000 dialects!

Performers:

  • Airileke Ingram (Papua New Guinea / Australia) – All instruments (except guitars), vocals, programming and sequencing.
  • William Hatch (Fiji / Australia) – Guitars, Vocals and additional percussion.

The whole of this remarkable library is presented within a stunning new state-of-the-art plug-in interface by Native Instruments which is a version of their Intakt sampler, which was specifically designed for rhythmic loop playback, manipulation, and mayhem. The convenient one-screen interface features tremendous sound shaping abilities without disrupting the creative flow, including a first-class multimode filter, an envelope follower, two LFOs, effects, and more. The loops have been set up so that they can be automatically synced to tempo, either via the Beat Machine or the Time Machine. The Beat Machine has loops divided into their individual hits or notes (slices) which means they can be played at a wide range of tempos without change in pitch. It also allows the user to give each hit or note individual settings for pitch, playback direction, pitch envelope, amp envelope, distortion, delay, and more; a MIDI file of each loop can be easily exported so that groove, accent, and feel can be manipulated in any host sequencer. The Time Machine time-stretches or compresses loops in real time.

Not only can you sync, stretch, and pitch the loops, but also filter, effect and modulate them as well! A powerful sound-shaping filter, flexible envelopes, syncable LFOs, and distortion, syncable delay, and lo-fi effects can inject even more energy and individuality into the loops, and morph every sample. Since the software interface is based on the Intakt engine, working with it is fast, easy, and sounds great!

Features:

  • Over 1.3 Gigabytes of instruments, rhythms, vocals & other indigenous and unique samples from the islands of the South Pacific and Australia.
  • Access to individual hits (slices) within loops
  • Easy and intuitive user interface
  • Easy synchronization of loops to MIDI tempo
  • MIDI file export permits groove, accent, and feel manipulation in any host sequencer
  • Integrated effects: Group filter including low-pass, high-pass, band-reject or band-pass modes, global filter, lo-fi, distortion, syncable delay
  • Modulation section provides AHDSR envelope, two individual syncable LFOs, envelope follower and a DBD pitch envelope
  • Sound Library can also be loaded into other Native Instruments samplers including Kontakt version 1.5

Instruments:

The Garamut is the “Tok Pisin” name given to slit drums found in PNG, they can be found in many different varieties and sizes. The garamuts used in this library come from Baluan Island in the Manus Province. Manus is a group of small islands found in the north of PNG with over 20 languages and many different styles of drumming and dance. Manus garamuts can range from 30 cm in length and 10 cm in diameter to over 2 meters long and 1.5 meter in diameter. These garamuts are carved out of one piece of timber usually from the Rain Tree using a curved chisel or a car suspension spring sharpened at one end. The Bass garamut are the largest log drums in PNG and are usually carved from the tree trunk of the Rain Tree. The deep sounds waves of the bass garamut can carry over a very long distance, many of them are used simply for their function as a form of distance communication.

Manus drumming usually consists of an ensemble of about 6 drummers. A lead garamut (small), about 4 rhythm garamut (medium size), and one bass garamut (largest). Manus drumming is usually structured in small rhythmic phrases often in 3 or 5 that are strung together to form a medley. There are no skin drums in Manus. Most traditional drumming in PNG unlike central and eastern Polynesian or the Kivai and Torres Strait region skin drums are not played with log drums. The producer/performer on this library, Airi Ingram, was taught Manus drumming by the Kilangit family from Baluan Island in Manus.

The Pate is the name for the Polynesian slit drum. It is originally from the Cook Islands in Central Polynesia; but now exists in most parts of Polynesia. In some parts of Polynesia such as Tahiti and Aitutaki the Pate is also known as the Tokere. The pate is a slit drum usually made from Albany or Mahogany. In the past after the drum had been carved they are soaked in the mud of the taro patch for a period of a few months or in diesel fuel for a period of a few weeks. This adds density and durability to the drum and gives more attack to the tone of the drum. The sticks are usually Iron wood or any other very hard wood. Cook Island drumming is probably the most sophisticated form of percussion in the South Pacific consisting of 4 or 5 rhythmic layers, each consisting of interlocking rhythmic phrases that make up a collective rhythm. The Pate is the main lead log drum and is usually about 1 meter long and 15 cm in diameter, a normal ensemble today consist of about 3 or 4 pate. A smaller high pitched slit drum (tokere or takirua) plays a rolling rhythm with syncopated accents.

The Pahu Mango is a drum similar to a conga; it has a sharkskin head and stands on the ground. Two to four pahu mango make up a set, played by one person in the ensemble. They are usually played with light drumsticks often made from hibiscus tree wood, and generally play a 16th or 32nd back beat and is funked up according to the player’s individual style.

The Pahu is a shark skin bass drum, in the Cook Island drumming ensemble it plays a part that is kind of like a marching band bass drum.

There are two main styles of Cook Island Drumming, the northern style and southern style. The northern style uses small high-pitched slit drums, playing simpler one-handed beats. The Southern style uses larger slit drums and uses a two-hand technique. Contemporary Cook Island drumming is generally in 4/4 and can be extremely fast and energetic with many syncopated breaks and fills. Polynesian percussion is actually one of the most adaptable and contemporary forms of music in the Pacific. At the beginning of the last century skin drums and log drums were never played together and the rhythms were much simpler than they are today. Generally the skin drums came from eastern Polynesia and the log drums came from western Polynesia. However over years of adaptation, migration and acculturation they eventually mixed in the centre, the Cook Islands. Skin drums like the Pahu and pahu mango originated from places such as Hawaii, Tahiti and Easter Island. The log drums that migrated easterly from Tonga and Fiji where they are called Lali. The oldest log drums in the Cook Islands the Ka’ara were found in Mangaia in the south where there still remains much archaeological evidence of the ancient spiritual beliefs of the Cook Islands. Archaeological evidence also point towards Tonga as the ancestral land for the first Cook Island log drums. When log drums were first used in the Cook Islands they had very strong ceremonial and ritual use. They had intricately carvings with a figure eight shaped slit and multi pitched. The older drums in the Cook Islands played much simpler and often triplet ? duplet rhythms, similar to rhythms still used in Fiji and Tonga. After years of development and the influence of missionaries, the log drumming that was once sacred lost its ritual function. But this didn’t mean the drumming died, in fact this opened the drumming up to possibilities such as entertainment, improvisation, creativity, acculturation and expression. Today it is the most sophisticated and virtuosic drumming in the Pacific. For the past few decades Cook Island drumming and dance has been a popular form of entertainment throughout the Pacific. So now these drums that once came to the Cook Islands from east and west have migrated back around the Pacific, and only recently have they begun to be heard around the world.

The producer/performer on this library, Airi Ingram, was taught about Cook Island Drumming by master drummers Ota Joseph, Tepoave Raita and Sonny Williams.

The Kundu is the “Tok Pisin” word for the hourglass shape drum found in most areas of PNG and the Torres Strait in north Australia. In Airi’s language Motu it is called Gaba. It has a goanna or snake skin, which is stretched over one end and stuck there using glue or sap from a tree. Bees wax is also used to tune the skins by sticking small dots of wax in the centre of the skin, this cuts out some of the high frequencies and brings out the deeper tones. There are many different styles of kundu, and each area of PNG has a very distinct style. They can range in size from 30 cm to over 2 meters long. The contemporary style of kundu actually stands up like a conga drum or pahu mango, which allows for a more two handed improvisatory style. The nature of most traditional kundu rhythms however is generally simple one handed beats, the rhythmic structures of the kundu is usually determined by the rhythm of the song it is accompanying or the steps of the dance movements. In my family’s area there are certain categories that kundu beats fit in to, which usually reflects the function of the dance they accompany. Eg. Kitoro – courtship dance (6/8 feel) Motu mavaru – motuan dance, Hiri Moale – celebratory dance with songs relating to the Hiri trade voyage celebration.

Airi’s grandfathers Boga Kwarara, Kokoa Kwarara and Kwarara Kwarara were his teachers of the Kundu and all the Motuan songs and dances from Gabagaba.

The Tin Can is often incorporated into South Pacific drumming and dance. In Central Province PNG it usually plays the same roll as a small garamut, played solo with a triplet – duplet feel to accompany dance. In the Cook Islands the cabin bread tin can is used as part of the ensemble and usually plays a similar roll as the Pahu mango or takirua (small pate). In Samoa it is often used to accompany the fire dance and in Tonga it also accompanies dance. In this CD it?s a bit of a mix of it all.

Bamboo Stomping tubes are found in many areas of the Pacific but are most common in Bouganville, the Solomon Islands and Fiji. Basically they are just short lengths of Bamboo with the inner knots hollowed out (except for the bottom one). When they are stomped they resonate with the pitch of the Bamboo. The pitch depends on the length of the bamboo and the tone depends on the thickness and age of the bamboo.

Kwakumba is the name of the Bamboo flutes found in the Highlands of PNG. Traditionally only initiated men can play them. They are always played in pairs and are pitched slightly apart, the lower pitch – the masculine and the higher pitch – the feminine. Traditionally they play interlocking triplet rhythms that evoke sounds of the bush and village. Airi Ingram was taught Kwakumba by Tony Subam and Pius Wasi from East Sepik Province.

Pan Pipes come from many areas in the Pacific but are most common in the eastern New Guinea Islands and the Solomon Islands.

Water Flutes are made of two bits of bamboo and some water to create a pitch-sliding flute.

Voice Distorters are made out of 1m lengths of bamboo or cane with the ends split. By singing into one end the vibrations of the split bamboo give the distorted sound.

Split Cane is just split cane about 1 metre long bundled together.

The Bowed Harp is made by tying an electric guitar string or thin wire to two ends of a piece of cane to create a bow. You put one end of the cane on your lips and using your mouth as a resonator pluck the string.

Susap is a Bamboo Jews harp

Conch Shells – found almost everywhere near the ocean. The conch is used in the Pacific to send messages across long distances or as a form of fanfare before an important event or moment. The rhythm and pitch of the conch can send quite specific messages.

Wooden Trumpets are found in many regions of PNG but are most popular in the Sepik and Madang Provinces. They are basically a piece of wood (1m) hollowed at one end and a blowhole at the other.

Shakers – the gourd shakers are probably the same as most around the world. Gourds are dried out and then filled with rice, seeds or small stones to create different sounding shakers. Another shaker is the Kiwai shaker used in the Kiwai and Torres Strait regions for dancing. They are just a bunch of dried seed pods tied together to make a rattle; they can also be attached to Kundu drums, dancing sticks and poles or made into an anklet.

Coconut shells – two coconut shells are used clapping and rubbing them together.

Other instruments used in this sample library: Drum Kit, Bass guitar, Electric guitar, Acoustic guitar, Keyboards, Rhodes piano, Electronic sythns, Sequencing and programming.

Supported Interfaces: – VST® 2.0, DXi, ASIO, Audio Units, Core Audio, RTAS, Mac & PC

Recommended Retail Price

$219.95 (US Dollars), 179 Euro, £129 pounds sterling

Minimum Requirements

Windows XP, Pentium III/ Athlon 400 MHz, 256 MB RAM

Mac OS 10.2.6 or higher, G3 500 MHz, 256 MB RAM

Recommended System

Windows XP, Pentium III/ Athlon 700 MHz, 512 MB

Mac OS 10.2.6 or higher, G4 733, 512 MB

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