It’s that time of year again - for the Samoana Jazz & Arts Festival, an emerging festival tradition in the 2Samoas that is gaining a growing following not only in the region but around the world.
“And that was always our intention for the festival – to bring the world to our place to experience our people, our music, arts and culture and our Islands,” –, “O taleni fa’amusika ma tu ma aga, o meaalofa nei ua atia’e i lenei fa’amoemoe”—“Talents and cultural strengths are the gifts being nurtured, the core of this festival,” says Festival Director, Siteine Peta Si’ulepa.
“And…just by coming to our 2Samoas event people can tick off a complimentary “bucket-list” on arrival –– we are the first and last places on the planet to greet and fare-well the sun and we are the birth-place of Jazz in the Pacific making us the Jazz Islands of the Pacific.”
Opening first in American Samoa Friday 4th - Sunday 6th November and closing in Samoa Friday 11th to Sunday 13th November – the festival crosses the international Dateline to join in celebration the peoples of 2 countries, one culture and one language.
To appreciate the full spectrum of the Samoana Festival offering, audiences and fans are encouraged to experience the Festival in both places.
Heading into its third year, Festival organisers have designed a unique event – created for an international stage, where the talents of Samoan artists from local and overseas are showcased and celebrated.
The festival reaches out to the global Samoan diaspora – welcoming artists, family and friends to the ‘Homelands” for an annual celebration that mixes, mingles and combines to produce a Samoan showcase for sheer enjoyment.
Since its beginnings in 2014 – the Samoana Festival has generated a “pull” factor – for Samoans abroad – those born off-shore, those who resident overseas and for those of Samoan origins who have never been to the lands of their ancestors.
The Festival has something for everyone, from the enduring sounds of jazz, to an extensive menu of jazz-influenced soul, rhythm and blues, pop, rock, country, Latin and even bluegrass. And of course, there is Samoan music, both traditional and modern as the great unifier. Samoan Jazz — the meeting of Jazz and Samoan music - was first evident in the music performed in the 2Samoas during World War 2 and afterwards.
Samoana also has an education focus providing a platform within the weekend programme to reflect on the history and legacy of Samoan music, early composers, songwriters and performers – exploring traditional music and contemporary expression. The “Sounds of Samoana” – Ethnomusicology Forum is a treasure trove with a growing following each year.
In line with the development of the Apia Waterfront – the Festival is positioned at venues along the waterfront and by the ocean – emphasising the Samoana Festival’s brand association with the port, the harbour and the ocean. It is a unifying theme that runs through the festivals in the 2Samoas and ties together the jazz history of our Islands. Highlighted last year during the UNESCO International Jazz Day April 30, Samoana shared with the world “The Tale of 2Samoas – The Untold Jazz Story of Our Islands,” of Samoan born Mavis Rivers (1929-1992) whose story highlighted American Samoa as the birthplace of jazz in the Pacific.
When Mavis Rivers recorded “The Ports of Paradise” in 1960, the Matson Cruise Line had expanded the trans-Pacific cruises from Hawaii to include cruises to the Islands of Fiji, Tahiti and both Samoas.
“The Ports of Paradise”–American Samoa and Samoa fits with the “Jazz Islands” brand we are promoting to the world” says Peta “and this is our tourism attractor and point of difference from other international festival locations.”
“The Samoana Festival captures the music, the history, the culture and the stories of who we are as artists today – reflected in the line-up of the musicians that participate in the festival each year.”
Artists for this years’ line-up include musicians from NZ, Australia, American Samoa and our very own Samoa. Young, gifted and emerging artists will be given a chance to shine, while veteran musicians will perform numbers well known and beloved by the local crowd.
Samoana Festival Programme - Samoa:
Friday 11th November Tanoa Tusitala
•Sounds of Samoana–Ethnomusicology Forum from 8:00am – 3:00pm
• Jazz Concert from 6pm-11pm. Tickets on sale now $30
Saturday 12th November – The Marina
• Sounds of Jazz from 3pm to 11pm. Tickets on sale now $20
• Lunch (Pre-bookings only)
• Dinner (Pre-bookings only)
Sunday 13th November – Sinalei Resort 12 Noon onwards
• Family Day Out. Tickets on Sale now $20 Children $5
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