Thursday, July 31, 2008

Why Can’t We All Just Sing a Song and Get Along?

(Featured in The Fiji Times, Wednesday 30/07/2008, p7)

I had the opportunity last week to watch a moving and thought-provoking performance. No, not the “Sorry I confused you by switching cars on the way to the office;” or “Sorry to disappoint you but I’m not resigning,” performance. The performance I refer to had amateur performers. And they didn’t change their tune even once until the song was over.

I am of course referring to the Suva Secondary Schools Music Festival, held at what I’ve always known to be the National Gymnasium (not that I’ve ever seen a gymnastic performance there) which is today almost the ignored older brother (or sister) of the larger Dome/Arena of Sports City in Suva. As an International School Student, I remember performing many a strange display of contemporary dance at this venue; or sitting high up in the back (in theatre-speak those seats are often referred to as the “God’s”) trying luck on whichever poor girl was the object of my obsession at the time. More recently I remember being a ring-announcer to one of those boxing nights when “Joy-the-leaving-on-a-Jetplane” never showed up. “Let’s get ready to rum-ble!” Or maybe not, as the case was.

I was fortunate to get tickets for the family to watch the Wednesday night performance of some 400 young people from schools of the greater-Suva area as well as the Pasifika Voices, wonderful Taiko drummers and of course the arrangement and conducting of among others, the very talented and humble (as only the son of a Samoan Talatala can be)Iglese Ete. For those who never got to watch Malaga: The Journey, or attend the USP’s graduation day, it was wonderful to see an actual musical maestro (as opposed to the 7’s rugby one we know and love) in action. Choreographed movements and song seamlessly flowed to “inspire” at least one member of the audience, who emailed me later.

Some wanted more…well most wanted more music, but one or two wanted more out of the show; but my own experience was sublime, disrupted only by my dear children, who wanted first to go up to the stage and sing, then go up and dance, then go up and play the drums, then go up and conduct. Their mother who is visiting George Bush’s relatives (oh sorry.. it’s only in the Pacific that everyone is related) in the United States (actually on a wonderful history workshop facilitated by the US Embassy here), missed out on the show and the joy of having two children wanting you to carry them and sit on your shoulders, or go to the toilet (not to be confused with the other BOG next door), when your favourite song is about to be sung. Ah the joys of parenthood!

The coming together of rival schools to sing duets of appropriately titled songs got me thinking that instead of all this money being spent on councils to weave better mats could be equally (or better – your choice, this article is democratic) spent on putting together a Choir for Singing about a Better Fiji. Of course those singing about a new day (no offence but I prefer the Stevie J. Heatley version) could be in the back up choir as could all the former, or in-limbo members of parliament and former or current members of the military-inspired Cabinet. There’d even be enough room for the military council and the rest of the other councils. However the stars of the night would be the duet singers. Here a couple of suggestions for songs.
1. Let it Flow (originally sung by Toni Braxton) Mahendra Chaudhry and the Water Bottlers
2. Message in a Bottle (originally sung by The Police) Mahendra Chaudhry and the Cabinet
3. Get Back to Where You Don’t Belong (originally sung by The Beatles) Evan Hannah, Russell Hunter and Viliame Naupoto (okay that’s a trio)
4. Ain’t No Sunshine (when He’s gone) (originally sung by Bill Withers/covered by Skee) Frank Bainimarama and Pramesh Chand
5. What’s Going On (originally sung by Marvin Gaye) Neumi Leweni and Daryl Tarte
6. How Can We Be Lovers If We Can’t Be Friends? (originally sung by Michael Bolton) Frank Bainimarama and Laisenia Qarase
7. Another Brick in the Wall (originally sung by Pink Floyd) John Samy and the TASS singers
8. Swing Low, Sweet Chariot (sung by UB40) Tukana Bovoro and Taito Waradi

Next week: “Heroes and Villains.”
Have a week blessed with Love, Light and Peace!

Disclaimer: Rev. Bhagwan is a member of the Faculty of the Methodist Davuilevu Theological College. The opinions expressed in this article are personal and in no way represent the opinion of the College or the Methodist Church in Fiji and Rotuma.

1 comment:

  1. As an International School Student, I remember performing many a strange display of contemporary dance at this venue;