Two years on from Cyclone Pam, local band DropVkal Family sends musical message – climate change is ‘Dangerous’

Vanuatu band DropVkal Family is known for its incisive social messages as much as it is for its hard-edged roots-rock-reggae fusion sound – and their latest track, ‘Dangerous’, released to mark the second anniversary of Cyclone Pam, is no exception.

The band’s musical vision is to promote vernacular languages and give an alternative to the mainstream reggae sound popular in Vanuatu. They perform regularly at bars and restaurants around Port Vila, playing Saturday nights at the Saloon Bar, and Sunday afternoons at the Beach Bar at Mele. They are also available to play special events.

“We’re a group of friends from different islands of Vanuatu that have come together because of our love of music, and our interest in contributing to the development of Vanuatu and its special local culture”, says musician Carlos Noronha.

“The band is evolving and is inclusive. It is a product of the merging of the bands DropVcull Groove and Family Roots.”

The name DropVkal resembles the word ‘tropical’, the climate associated with Vanuatu. But DropVkal has a deeper meaning comprising three themes: “Tears of the pain suffered by our ancestors who were kidnapped or tricked into leaving home to work as indentured labourers on plantations in Australia. This practice, called blackbirding, is a terrible chapter in Vanuatu’s past.”

“Vision, the future, with a focus on actions to build a better society. DropVkal Family wants to share ideas through our songs, which are ready to record, about violence against women and girls, corruption, appreciation of the environment and nature of Vanuatu and West Papua. We are always thinking about what will be our next project? How can we use our music for positive social change?”

“Culture. We aim to incorporate local instruments, especially the bamboo flute, in all of our original songs. This symbolises the respect and admiration that we have for Vanuatu’s indigenous culture.”

The group has supported several fundraising initiatives to enable the purchase of 17 water tanks to send outer islands of Vanuatu to help communities suffering from the devastating El Niño event that followed Cyclone Pam in 2015.