Welcome to Min-On’s Music Journey! Today, the Min-On Concert Association and the Embassy of the Republic of Maldives in Japan welcome you to Maldives, a tropical country in the Indian Ocean.
©MMPRC Social Media
The Maldives is an island nation consisting of 1,192 islands, and its name means “wreath of islands” in the local language. True to its name, the Maldives consists of 26 beautiful atolls (circular coral reefs), and there’s good reason it’s one of the best resort areas in the world.
|Travel guide for the Maldives:
・Experience local ways of life in the capital, Malé
・Explore Maldivian resort islands and find your favorite
・Learn the incredible art of coir rope, a traditional handicraft made from the outer husk of the coconut, called “bombi” in dhivehi language.
Let’s enjoy Maldivian music as we travel across the Maldives to experience everything the local culture offers.
The capital of Malé, economic and cultural center
The central island of Malé is small enough to walk around in less than 1.5 hours. Despite this, it’s home to about 248,671 people – around a half of the country’s population – making it one of the most densely populated cities in the world. As the economic and political center of the country, the main area of the central island is a modern city filled with urban buildings. A large portion of the island, more than two-thirds, is filled with residential areas that thousands call home.
The urban part of the city has many restaurants and open-air markets, which are an indispensable part of local life. One of the charms of Malé is that you can easily brush elbows with the locals here and experience their culture firsthand.
Symbols of Malé include the colorful Presidential Palace and mosques such as the Islamic Centre and Hukuru Miskiiy. The Islamic Centre is the largest mosque in the country, and Hukuru Miskiiy is one of the oldest. This makes it a sacred place for the Maldivian people, many of whom are devout Muslims.
The Presidential Palace
The Islamic Centre (left) and The Hukuru Miskiiy (right)
Resort islands photo tour
The Maldives has 169 resort islands. Many of the islands are devoted to a single resort! They’re popular travel destinations known throughout the world as oceanside paradises where visitors can relax the mind and body.
Please enjoy the beautiful scenery of these countless Maldivian resort islands.
Unique traditional handicrafts
Many different traditional crafts have been passed down on each Maldivian island. We’d like to feature two of the most iconic Maldivian handicrafts here.
|Lacquerwork, which developed as a cottage industry centered around Thulhaadhoo Island, is known for its beautifully colored designs. Maldivian craftsmen use a traditional technique that involves manipulating a string wrapped around a spindle. They create designs by carving into the layers of lacquer with a special tool, letting the colorful inner layers show through.
Visitors can see some of the greatest works of Maldivian lacquerware in the national museum in Malé, alongside everyday pieces for sale in shops popular with travelers.
|Coir rope is another traditional Maldivian handicraft made from coconut palms. The incredible techniques used to fashion this rope into many items, from hammocks to Maldivian boats called dhoni, are still carefully passed down from one generation to the next.|
Dhoni boats are built without blueprints. Craftsmen shape them using just their experience and trained eyes. Dhoni are known for the elegant curve of their prows. The boats don’t just support Maldivian people’s livelihoods, they’re also works of art showcasing true craftsmanship.
©Social Media_@joyfulholidaymv (right)
Maldivian music and traditional dance
The influences of South Asia, the Arab region and East Africa on Maldivian culture are reflected in Maldivian music and dances. Let’s take a look at three examples of Maldivian music and dance culture.
Traditional music, boduberu
Boduberu is a tribal dance primarily seen at festivals, and one of the most popular folk dances in the country. The dance primarily uses drums made from hollowed-out coconut tree wood, and other percussion instruments. A lead singer and a band of 10 to 15 people sing together. As the song progresses, musicians step forward and start dancing to the music. In the end, the audience joins in, too.
Bandiyaa jehun, a popular dance
In this popular dance, ladies holding metal pots sing and dance to the music. The dance is known for evolving alongside current trends. Nowadays, for instance, it uses instruments like drums and harmonicas, and the dancers wear fresh fashion that inspires them.
©Social Media_Dhivehiraajjeyge Adu
At many Moldavian resorts, popular DJs work to create great vibes by playing music that suits the location, and adapting their selections based on guests’ reactions. Some resorts invite DJs from all over the world, but local musicians like Aminas Fazlina Abbas, a female DJ from Malé, can also be found delighting audiences at resorts.
©Local Guides Connect
Creating sustainable industries
Nearly 80% of the islands in the Maldives are less than one meter above sea level. This makes sea-level rise an urgent environmental issue for the Maldives, and the country has taken different measures to address climate change. For example, the government is phasing out single-use plastics. Many Maldivian resorts are also working to build a sustainable tourism industry in line with low-carbon environmental standards.
The Maldives is also planning to build a floating city near Malé. This measure to address sea-level rise has attracted a lot of attention. The environmentally conscious city design will not harm coral reefs, and is scheduled to be complete in 2027 as a home to 20,000 people.
Musicians recommended by the Embassy of the Republic of Maldives in Japan
In closing, we would like to introduce three prominent Maldivian music bands recommended by the Embassy of the Republic of Maldives in Japan.
- Kasabu Libaas
- Fasdheefa dhaathy
- Huvafen (A Dream)
What did you think of your music journey to Maldives? There are still many more places to go! Please look forward to our next destination.
(Produced in collaboration with the Embassy of the Republic of Maldives in Japan, who also provided photos.)
Min-On Concert Association
－Music Binds Our Hearts－