The Lengo traditional dances - Solomon Star News

The Lengo traditional dances

01 September 2015

Dear Editor - It is apparent that there are no more traditional dances survived with my Lengo people. You can hardly see them performed in our national celebrations and in other important events that took place in or around our communities.

The vast coastal area of north Guadalcanal which stretches from Mataniko, Point Cruz in the west, to Matango bordering Marau Sound in the east are the homes of the Lengo people.

In this vast area with a huge population, you hardly come across any community which still hold on to any traditional dances. Nangali community in the Longgu area in East Central Guadalcanal and Tathiboko community on North East Guadalcanal are the only exceptions.

This is surprising. Have we been overwhelmed by the Western influences that we forget about one of our good traditions?

In the past, dancing was part of our rich culture but we are now neglecting it. This clearly shows that we have no sense of pride for our traditions and culture.

It is sad to see that the communities around the Solomon Islands participating in cultural dances at big events and celebrations in Honiara and at the arts & cultural shows in the Solomon Islands and overseas countries but the Lengo people have not taken part.

After watching these communities performing their dances, it should have given us some serious thoughts about reviving our traditional dances, but we do not bother to do so.

I do not blame anybody for this as the Guadalcanal people are in the habit of stand and watch while the world moves on.

I wish to point out that the “talua dance” usually being proudly performed by the Kakabona dancers is a Fijian dance and it is an embarrassment to perform it when the Fijians are present.

I wish to encourage them to seek their origin or root traditional dances. In the past our people used to enjoy watching our traditional dances performed in our villages on special occasions such as Church festivals and Christmas and Easter celebrations.

Our men’s dances were Silaru and Siokole and the women’s dance was the rop’ e. The Silaru dance had long been dead and buried and Siokole dance is now dying out fast.

The Tathiboko and Nangali communities hold the key to the survival of this dance. The rop’e, the women’s dance had disappeared from the scene for many years now.

But I think there may be some women around our villages who still know something about the dance. There is another women’s dance, the Loloele. This was a ritual dance and it was performed only when the üthuthu” operation was done on a young girl.

The Church had forbidden the practice in the late 1940s. However, the dance can be revived and treat it as a social dance now.

I wish the Premier of the Guadalcanal Province will take note of the concerns expressed here. The task of reviving the traditional dances will not be easy for the attitude of our young generation is different.

I have tried once to ask some Aola women to teach the young girls about the rop’e dance but they were more interested on chorus dances and other social activities. They will need some incentives to lure them to come and learn the dances.

It will need a budgetary allocation in the Provincial budget to run this huge task because it will involve the searching around the villages to identify men and women who have some knowledge on our traditional dances and to arrange for the teaching of our young boys and girls in our villages as well as teaching the students in Guadalcanal schools and also to record the tunes and the wordings of the dances for our future generation.

We have to seriously consider the reviving of this one aspect of our cultural value and heritage. A community or people without culture has no identity and is as good as dead.

Martin Matea
East Central Guadalcanal