Sunday, 25 May 2014

Samoana. . . ala mai . . .

NZ Music Month has almost ended and I'm up to the letter 'U'.
As I've mentioned in a previous post, it is also Samoan Language Week.
A few weeks ago, the Pacific Music Awards took place in Auckland.
A few years ago, Pacific Underground performed at these awards with their rendition of Samoana.
Tanya Muagututi'a and Pos Mavaega are the masterminds behind this collective of Pasifika artists and musicians who showcase Pasifika heritage, languages and cultures in their work.  Malo lava le tauivi ma le fa'aea nu'u.

O se mea e mitamita ai, o le galulue faatasi o uso ma tuagane ina ia maua se avanoa e fefa'asoaa'i ai le latou taleni ile musika, o le faamatalaina o tala ma fagogo a lo tatou atunu'u o Samoa, ae maise lava o atunu'u uma ole Pasefika, auā le lumana'i manuia ole fanau.  O le vaega lenei sa atoa ai ile tausaga ua mavae, le lua sefulu tausaga talu ona faavaeina.

O le pese lenei, ose pese ta'atele, ae ose pese ua fai ma vi'i o Samoa e fa'ai'u ai fa'apotopotoga taua o fonotaga o aiga, pitonu'u, alalafaga, seia o'o lava i fa'apotopotoga ole atunu'u ma Ekalesia e fia mo so'o se fa'alavelave e auai ai tatou tagata.

Lota nu'u na ou fanau ai
Ua lelei oe ile vasa
Ua e maua mai luga o le tofi aogā

This verse speaks about the beauty of the homeland, the privileged position that Samoans have been given, from the heavens.  One thing that I think that is true for every language, is when the subtleties of the language can be lost in translation - it doesn't quite sound the same, the meaning doesn't seem to be conveyed in its entirety and the way that it sounds - doesn't roll off the tongue as smooth.  (But that's just me . . .).

Samoana (Samoana) ala mai (ala mai)
Fai ai nei (fai ai nei) le faafetai (le faafetai)
I le pule ia maua ai
O lo'u nuu i le vasa e

The chorus displays the call and response device which is a common feature in Samoan choral singing, large group singing, it displays the gender balance quite evenly in this respect.  The women lead the lyrics in the chorus, while the men sing the echo in the parentheses. As a musician - it is the third line that does it for me - during the singing of the word pule, as the first syllable hangs suspended in the air - and depending on who is leading - can vary in the length of this suspension, before it is resolved.

O le avanoa lenei ou te valaau atu ai i Samoa - ia tatou ala mai, fai ai nei le faafetai.
I call to all Samoans to rise, give thanks.  Celebrate your heritage language this week.
But let's be honest - if you are born of an ethnic group - be the best example of that ethnic group, if only to share with others around you, who might not have the opportunity to meet someone like you in their lifetime.  It is something I carry with me in every conversation that I have with someone.  You are not born that ethnicity by accident.  Samoana - ala mai.

O lo'u nuu, i le, vasa e. . .
My country, in the, ocean. . .