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Plans for Jazz festival to become permanent fixture

Work has started to make the Samoana Jazz and Arts Festival a permanent fixture on Samoa’s social and cultural calendar of events.

Members of the Samoana Jazz and Arts Festival Board met recently with the Minister of Tourism, Salā Fata Pinati, and presented him with documents relating to this year’s jazz and arts festival and are encouraged with his enthusiasm to the event.

Chair of the Samoana Jazz and Arts Festival Board, Galumalemana Steve Percival, said they looked forward to working with the Government. 

“We are greatly encouraged by the enthusiastic response of the Minister of Tourism and look forward to exploring ways, in which we may build a meaningful and lasting partnership with the Government to firmly place the Samoana Jazz and Arts Festival on the social and cultural calendar of events for the entertainment of locals and foreigners alike,” he said in a statement.

The Samoana Jazz and Arts Festival Trust was registered with the Government of Samoa as a charitable trust in September this year.

According to Galumalemana, the new status of the non-profit organisation is timely as this year’s event will be the biggest since the annual event began in 2014.

“Over 20 musicians will travel to Samoa next week to perform in a series of concerts that will culminate with a tribute to the late Mavis Chloe Rivers (1929-1992), who was once referred to by Frank Sinatra as ‘the purest voice’ in jazz. 

“Mavis is well known in many countries but what many people do not know is that she has Samoan roots. This year there will be a concert to pay tribute to her musical achievements in her country of birth,” Galumalemana added.

Leading the Mavis Rivers Tribute Band is La‘auli Matt Catingub, Mavis’s son and an academy award winning musician and composer in his own right. La‘auli and three musicians from American – Steve Moretti, Kevin Axt, and Christina Souza – are supported under a U.S. arts envoy grant. Two musicians from New Zealand, Mike Booth and Andrew Hall will also join them. 

The concert honouring Mavis Rivers will be held at the Taumeasina Island Resort next Saturday and will be opened by the US Air Force Band of the Pacific 7-piece Jazz Ensemble, Papana. Other related performances next weekend includes the opening concert at the Tanoa Tusitala Hotel next Friday, and “jazz on the beach” at the Sinalei Reef Resort and Spa on Sunday, November 11.

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