Here’s a taste of kaneka, a reggae-infused music from the South Pacific island of New Caledonia. Deriving from the diverse music heritage of the island and its kanak peoples, together with the political and religious influences of French administration over the years, the music is broadly rather than narrowly defined. Due to its remote geographical location, and technological underdevelopment of internet connectivity, there have been severe commercial limits to how far the music has travelled from New Caledonia to the ears of listeners elsewhere in the world.
There are also limits to how far it has spread within New Caledonia itself where kaneka can at best serve as a unifying movement amongst different groups of the population and amidst political conflict. While none of the kaneka bands and artists are well known beyond New Caledonia, OK! Ryos have perhaps the highest profile internationally, and their album Wa Coco Le Meilleur (the best of) OK! Ryos (2008), with its mainly gentle quasi-reggae sound, is readily available. More recent releases (above) are a fine introduction to this engaging music.