Music from the Village, a fan-created Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort area loop
When the Polynesian Village opened at Walt Disney World in 1971, it had no piped-in music to help set the mood. According to Disney historian FoxxFur of the website Passport to Dreams Old and New, speakers were first installed on the grounds in the bottom of newly-cast reproductions of Rolly Crump’s tikis from Disneyland’s Enchanted Tiki Room pre-show two or three years later.
Since then, speakers have been placed thought the resort (both inside and out) and an ever-changing soundtrack has helped transport guests on vacation in Orlando to a virtual island getaway. Some years the music was a mix of Hawaiian and Tahitian; the currently running version is almost exclusively Hawaiian.
I always wanted to take a crack at asking myself “What would Jack Wagner do?” and curate a selection of songs I felt were appropriate for the resort. The Polynesian’s evolving identity while under renovation raised more questions than answers. Should I use exotica tunes instead of traditional? Do you go so traditional with indigenous peoples’ music that guests wouldn’t find it accessible or enjoyable? Do you include any music from Disney’s films set in the Pacific at the risk of pulling guests out of the artificially-built paradise?
Finally, with the release of photographs from the newly-constructed Bora Bora bungalows, the resort’s theme became clear. Yes, it’s about Polynesia. But it also celebrates Disney and the history of hotel itself—mixing Mary Blair, The Electrical Water Pageant, mid-century furnishings and the Polynesian Pop movement into one giant imu pit.
So with this in mind, I humbly present Songs from the Village, a mixture of music from across Polynesian cultures along with some well-known Disney songs that once played or still play a role in the Magic Kingdom’s Advetureland. The ground rules for inclusion were simple: songs had to be from across a broad range of Polynesian islands (Samoa, Hawaii, New Zealand, Samoa, Tonga, Rarotonga and Fiji are represented), it had to be “Western enough” that anyone could enjoy it, and it had to be from the mid-‘70s at the latest: no drum machines or synthesizers. Paradise does not do Devo covers. The progression of songs would also follow the flow of a day–quiet in the morning, gradually increasing in vigor by evening, then returning to tranquility as the sun sets and the moon rises.
More complete liner notes will be provided later in the week. In the meantime, please enjoy. Cover art photography was graciously provided by At Disney Again
- He`eia – Gabby Pahinui – Hawaii
- Ua Lata Mai Le Aso Fa’amasino – Le Patiloa – Western Samoa
- Hala -‘O-Teine – Pan Pacific Singers – Tonga
- Malasadas – Sonny Chillingworth – Hawaii
- Isa Lei Ko Iteni – Vatulawa Trio – Fiji
- Kare Koe Ngaro Iaku (I Will Never Forget You) – Pepe and the Rarotongans – Rarotonga
- Pokarekare Ana – The Tui Trio – New Zealand (Aotearoa)
- Talking Logs – Unknown – Magic Kingdom Adventureland
- Let Me Hear You Whisper – The Columbia River Players – Fiji
- Analani E – Alvin Kaleolani Isaacs & His Waikiki Boys – Hawaii
- Hoki Mai – The Tui Trio – New Zealand (Aotearoa)
- Tamure E – Matapo & Les Tahitiens – Tahiti
- Taveuni – South Pacific Singers – Rarotonga
- Vini Vini – The Beat of Tahiti – Tahiti
- Kine Street Rag – Danny K. Stewart & His Aloha Boys – Hawaii
- Pineapple Princess – Annette Funicello – United States
- He Hawai`i Au – Sunday Manoa – Hawaii
- Now Is the Hour (Maori Farwell Song) – Arthur Lyman – Hawaii(artist)/New Zealand(song)
- Sini Moe Vasike – Planet Tonga – Tonga
- Amuia Le Lupe – The Columbia River Players – Fiji
- Taleva Lesu Tale – Unknown – Fiji
- Moonlight Time in Old Hawaii – George Bruns – United States
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