The Rock and mother in Samoan duet
The Samoan language has been exposed to millions of Americans after Seiuli Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and his mother, Ata, sang “Savalivali” on America's "Tonight Show".
Ata’s unexpected starring role came after host Jimmy Fallon asked the world’s highest-paid actor about a movie recently posted to his social media pages of he and his mother playing the ukulele at the site of his grandparents’ grave.
Seiuli stopped the interview, which was being conducted remotely on Wednesday local time, to invite Ata on screen.
“Let’s sing him a song real quick. Go ahead,” he beckoned.
Together they sang in Samoan: “Savalivali means go for a walk. Tele tautala means too much talk. Alofa ia Jimmy, means I love you. Take it easy means fai lemu.”
Host Jimmy Fallon remarked that Ata, who led the singing while strumming her ukulele, stole the show with her performance of the popular Samoan song during Seiuli’s scheduled appearance on the talk show.
Ata interrupted the interview with the Hollywood star with an impromptu ukulele performance to the obvious delight of the late-night host.
“You just stole the interview,” he said.
“Mom just crushed”.
Ata then added: “We have one more!”
The move came to her son’s surprise, who replied with an objection: “No, we don’t have one more; what do you mean we have one more?”
But upon relenting the two broke into an impromptu number.
“We love you, Jimmy, oh yes we do. We love you Jimmy and that is true. When we’re away from you, we’re blue. Oh Jimmy, we love you,” they sang.
Fallon returned the sentiment, blowing kisses to the mother-son duo,
“I’m sending love right back to you,” he said. “You are a superstar.”
"The Tonight Show", the longest-running variety programme in American history, regularly reaches upwards of three million American homes from its base in New York City.
Recently, Seiuli and his mother visited the graves of Ata’s parents in Hawai’i and sang several songs with the ukulele including Savalivali.
Seiuli has been increasingly embracing and promoting his Polynesian heritage on the world stage.
He brought his mother to tears after speaking Samoan on the set of his recent film, partially set in American Samoa: “Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw.”
Seiuli's mother was born in Hawai’i but her family hails from Lalomanu Aleipata.