Musician advocates the healing power of song
The healing properties of music is a strong motivation for renowned Samoan musician, Metitilani "Lani" Alo, who has seen the power of song change lives for the better.
He told the Samoa Observer in an interview on Saturday that he believes music, as an arts discipline, plays a key role in emotional, spiritual, and mental well-being.
“Music has been a lifesaver for me. The Arts have been a lifesaver for me and so it's from there that my belief is rooted and stems from,” said Alo.
The musical artist is of the view that arts can provide healing in ways other facets of life cannot; holding high the aphorism "a song can speak but a speech cannot be sung".
Alo is probably best known for his song 'Alo i ou faiva'. Released in 2019, the song has proven to be extremely popular on YouTube with 2.1 million views to date.
The song represents the combined blessings from family, friends, and supporters, conveyed upon an individual or group who are setting out on a journey. The title of the song is a well-known Samoan proverb and has many applications in everyday life.
Alo says music, as a medium for teaching and providing encouragement, has proven healing powers as he has seen during his years of experience in the performing arts
He said its universal appeal is obvious when you scroll through the Youtube comments and find people from all over the world. He even came across a comment on his song's page, where someone had shared that they had been ready to give up on life but when they listened to Alo's song and its message, it changed their mind and stopped them from doing the unthinkable.
He had also worked on other songs with the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa (C.C.C.S) Dunedin Choir, releasing music that hit home for many people such as 'Live for Tomorrow', a song written for suicide prevention. According to Alo, many people responded positively to the piece which was devoted to the them of being resilient and having hope.
Mr. Alo says he feels lucky to be involved in various spaces such as the Youth Choir - an avenue that allows him to work face to face with the Youth.
The University of Otago is currently in preparation for this year's Orientation Programme and he stated they have to work with new and current students to produce a performance piece as part of their Pacific welcome.
Although teaching song and performance to a group is challenging, he says the opportunities to work with music and empower young people is uplifting.
When asked what advice he can give to young musicians, he said inspiration can be found everywhere.
“We don’t need to look too far to find inspiration for our craft.
"We have a whole treasure chest of stories and culture that belongs to us [that we can tap in to] to tell our stories."
Alo said he hopes to continue, through community outreach events, to spread positivity and encouragement through music once the Covid-19 pandemic has passed.