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Leweton village cultural group

Mwerlap language group

Leweton village, Espirito Santo, Vanuatu

Since its launch in 2008, founder Sandy Sur has worked hard with the families of Leweton to preserve, teach and share the cultural values of the people of Vanuatu through traditional forms of story telling such as dance, music, arts, language and cultural practices.

The Vanuatu Women’s Water Music is the most internationally known performances by the group. They travel the world performing the Na Mag and Ne Lang dances as a prelude to the mystical water music, dressed in their traditional costumes of Gaua and Mere Lava made from flowers and leaves, coconuts and pandanus.

Their performance is truly mesmerising as they reimagine the old with contemporary expressions of Matto - bringing together traditional beats and rhythms with ukulele-led melodies and soaring vocal harmonies.

Back in Nov' 2012 in Leweton village...

The session for Leweton Village and the Water Music actually took place a couple of years before we began the SIBS project and was the film ‘Vanuatu Women’s Water Music’, (which I shot and Directed), that was one of the Inspirations for SIBS, for it was whilst I was there I first heard that the people across the Indian and pacific Oceans including much of South East Asia shared the Seafarers heritage. As a music producer the idea of an album based on the Austronesian story totally excited my creative imagination.


Back to Leweton Village, what a wonderful place to be. My brief for the trip to Vanuatu was to produce an album featuring the cultural music of the village, but when I arrived with my recording gear, the village asked me if I could make a DVD instead; after a quick think (and a cup of Kava), I decided why not? So with the a couple of basic digital cameras, boom poles and lighting created bush mechanics style, media trainees turned film crew and the most amazing environments and talent to work with, we shot a film. Too much fun!


The story behind the village and cultural group itself is inspiring, so please hang in for another paragraph. Sandy Sur who is a member and manager of the cultural group had an inspired idea, to create a cultural village which tourists (principally from the cruise ships) can visit to discover local culture, with the money made from the tourists going back to the community to share and support their lifestyle, so they are managing their business to support their culture, such a great model. So the DVD was designed as merchandise for the tourists and also for their touring cultural group.


So any festivals or touring agents reading this, know they are ready to tour, either as part of the SIBS ensemble or as the Leweton Village Cultural Group!

Vanuatu Women’s Water Music’ Credits

Director, Editor, Sound Recordist - Tim Cole

Producers - Thomas Dick, Sandy Sur

Writer - Hilda Wavales

Original Music - Hilda Wavales

Assistant Director - Delly Roy

Cinematography - Sarah Doyle, Tim Cole

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