Saturday, April 21, 2012

Singing in Samoa

Samoans love to sing. They only have one dynamic; LOUD. Last Sunday night we participated in an Easter Concert presented by our ward and one other ward in the Pesega Stake.  Interestingly we sang in English which was disappointing to me since we practiced a rousing rendition of "The Spirit of God" in Samoan but didn't sing it..  We closed our portion of the program with a rousing rendition of "How Great Thou Art" which would have put any large Baptist congregation to shame.  The Samoan Hymn book which is, called "Vi'iga", has a fair number of hymns translated in to Samoan and sung to familiar melodies. There are also some unique Samoan "Vi'igas" which are also sung to familiar melodies. One example is number 201, " Lo Matou Atua e, Matou te Fa'afetai" which is sung to the tune of "My Country Tis of Thee".  The translation is Our Lord, We Thank ye".  Or Number 37, "Lo'u Nu'u Sauniatu e!" which is sung to the tune of the old Christmas favorite  "O Christmas Tree".  It has nothing to do with Christmas.  It is about a village established in the crater of an extinct volcano called "Sauniatu". The early Saints who established Sauniatu had a vision about the importance of this place in the Samoan history of the Church. They knew they needed a place where they could prepare and build strength. In 1904, when they established Sauniatu, they had been expelled from their villages, persecuted, and unfairly taxed for being Mormons.

On Tuesday we had the pleasure of hearing from Elder Hamula, who is the president of the South Pacific Area.  He talked about the importance of being "watchful" and "observant" of all of the commandments.  Taking part of his message from Judges 6-8 where the Lord tells Gideon to reduce his army to those that were "watchful" and "observant".  We sang our mission song which is also found in the Samoan Hymn book.  The melody is familiar but I can't quite place it. Our missionaries sing it with great zeal.  It's called  "O Lo'o Fai Nei le Taua".  The translation is "We are Engaged in the Great Battle for Jesus".

The first few days of this week my So'a (Companion) was Elder Funaki, our assistant who went home very early this morning.  We were discussing what the mission song sounds like in English and I told him it sounds better in Samoan which gave him a good laugh.  I will really miss him. This is a picture of us taking our customary rest period in the Presidents office.

Elders Funaki and Partridge after a long drive to the wharf.
An interesting obervation on music and language; while singing Hymns on Easter I realized the word "Al-le-lu-ia" is prounouced exactly the same in Samoan and English.  Some how that seems appropriate.

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