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Sinalei String Band hits the right notes at Teuila Festival

Sinalei String Band swept the number one spot for the 2019 Teuila Festival string band competition.

The cultural tradition that Samoa Tourism is trying to revive drew several participants for this year's annual festival.

Last year's winners, the Maeva band, slipped to second place this year. Coconut String band came in third place. 

Prizes were presented on Friday morning during the Teuila Festival's official closing ceremony in Sogi.

Band representative, Tominiko Malo, spoke on behalf of their leader, Tuatagaloa Joe Annandale and the owner of Sinalei Beach Resort, to convey their honour at having received the award.

"[There is] no other feeling but pure happiness that we were able to get the first place for String Band competition this year," he said.

The band did not compete last year, and were not sure if they were going to line up for this year's Festival. 

"Last year, nobody thought of competing but we felt that we wanted to come back again because we enjoy engaging with our fellow participants as well as the developing of the talent," he said.

The last time they competed was in 2017, where they came second, but the band of five Sinalei employees have made quite the comeback. 

Tuatagaloa Joe Annandale, Michael Westerlund, Tominiko Malo, Robert Westerlund, and Va’a Ieremia have been playing together for four years.

Third place getters, the Coconut String band from Siumu, said that after five years of non-stop competition in the Teuila String Band Competition, they were glad to have finally won something this year.

"We have been competing for three years straight with no success until this year," said band leader, Lino Paio, 51.

The band of six members are all employed at Coconut Beach Resort are looking forward to next year's string band competition.

Paio said although he is over 50, he is still looking to develop his talent. 

He also acknowledged the support of their resort manager and families throughout the competition.

"I am proud of this achievement as the leader of the band, I want to say thank you to our Manager, Galumalemana Lina for the big support, she is the reason we were able to compete this year and this is a great achievement for us to bring back," he said. 

"We will continue to compete even for next year, we hope to move our placing forward in the next Teuila competitions."

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