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Wallis et Futuna

Ensemble folklorique « Ofafolau »

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Wallis and Futuna is located more than sixteen thousand kilometers from mainland France, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The Wallis Islands on the one hand, Futuna and Alofi on the other hand, of Polynesian culture, belong to the "Polynesian triangle" and are approximately three hundred kilometers from the islands of Fiji and Samoa, two thousand one hundred kilometers from New Caledonia and two thousand eight hundred kilometers from Tahiti. The population is approximately seventeen thousand inhabitants, two thirds of whom live in Wallis and a third in Futuna.


Located in the South Pacific, Wallis is a low volcanic island of seventy-seven square kilometers, with low relief, surrounded by a lagoon. Wallis and Futuna is a resolutely unique territory which has never been colonized, but decided to join the French Republic while retaining its three kingdoms. Thus the Wallisians and Futunians reconcile French culture with their traditions common to the peoples of the Pacific.


Wallis and Futuna were populated three thousand four hundred years ago by the Lapita people, an Austronesian population manufacturing a particular type of pottery, numerous remains of which have been found in the Pacific. It was only in the 19th century that Westerners really came into contact with Wallis and Futuna. These were mainly whalers and deserted sailors, some of whom settled permanently and gradually integrated, sometimes marrying indigenous women.


The custom or “AGA'IFENUA” is very important in the hearts and daily lives of Wallisians and Futunians. It remained intact and alive despite contacts with Westerners. Many actions are explained by custom or are resolved by “doing custom”. Local culture, deeply community-based, is founded in this collective memory where traditions and customs as well as traditional institutions are expressed. It is both a popular art and a mode of regulating society.


The music accompanies the dance. It is performed with typical Polynesian instruments, mainly percussion and winds. Dances can be informal or accompany official ceremonies. Some are punctuated by percussions played by the dancers: simple clashes of sticks in the eke or weapons in the warrior dances, clubs in the kailao or paddles in the tapaki (tā-paki in Futuna). Others are accompanied by an external ensemble made up of a choir and percussion, to which ukuleles are sometimes added. Several dances are performed in a seated position, such as the niutao imported from Tuvalu or the sasa from Samoa. They are characterized by elegant movements of the arms and hands.


The “Ofafolau” Folklore Ensemble takes you to the ends of the world, to Wallis and Futuna, and accompanies you in the discovery of one of the most authentic cultures in the world, that of the South Pacific whose sunsets over the lagoon are magnificent .

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