David Attenborough in Sulphur Bay, Tanna, Vanuatu - the 1950's

from Life on air : memoirs of a broadcaster, page 139:


That evening, a group of men with guitars, mandolins and drums made from tin cans started to play.  Women wearing long grass skirts began to dance and soon everyone was strutting and jigging in an awkward gawky fashion quite unlike any other dances we had seen in the islands.  The music and the song they sang was neither a traditional Tannese chant, nor a version of the Pacific pop music that incessantly blared from the traders’ stores.  The followers of John Frum belonged to neither world. 

cite as

David Attenborough, Life on air : memoirs of a broadcaster (London, 2009), p. 139. https://led.kmi.open.ac.uk/entity/lexp/1459201783280 accessed: 16 June, 2024

location of experience: Sulphur Bay, Tanna, Vanuatu


David Attenborough
naturalist, TV presenter, TV producer

Listening to

hide composers
Music played by the followers of John Frum performed by Followers of John Frum

Experience Information

Date/Time the 1950's
Medium live
Listening Environment in the company of others


David Attenborough was in the Pacific filming local customs for BBC TV. The followers of John Frum were members of one of the ‘cargo cults’ that had sprung up in the region.

Originally submitted by lcc5 on Mon, 28 Mar 2016 22:49:43 +0100
Approved on Sun, 08 May 2016 12:02:22 +0100