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Ta'u Tama

Small Island Big Song

What will we tell our children if we fail to protect the planet?

About The Artists

Small Island Big Song is a collaborative project of artists across the Indo-Pacific united for climate justice.

The first album was produced over three years as the producers Australian Tim Cole and Taiwanese BaoBao Chen, visited the artists across the Pacific & Indian oceans to record music in nature on their homelands and share those songs from island to island as others collaborated on them, all in the languages and instruments of their islands. From this we created an album, concert and feature film.

During the pandemic we have been meeting fortnightly with 10 artists from their islands (Australia, The Marshall Islands, Papua New Guinea, Taiwan, Madagascar, Rapa Nui/Easter Island, Mauritius and Tahiti) and sharing our experiences, concerns and actions over the climate crisis. Recording remotely we have turned these concerns and lived experience into song.

The resulting album ‘Our Island’, came out recently and the group are currently on tour across the USA & EU with a concert and outreach programs on the climate emergency.

Why We Wrote This Song

The first single ‘Ta’u Tama’ from the album “Our Island” features the Tahitian duo Vaiteani and asks the question, “What will we tell our children if we fail to protect our planet?”

For the past year Small Island Big Song a group of profiled Islander musicians from across the Pacific & Indian oceans have been drawing on their island’s musical lineage, their contemporary influences and their shared concerns and experiences of the climate crisis.

Luc of the Tahitian duo Vaiteani wrote Ta’u Tama for Tehau, their newborn, over his concerns for the world we are passing onto future generations. Sung with his partner Vaiteani, they explore their love for Tehau and the nature of Tahiti they fear Tehau may not see.

As a collaboration the Small Island Big Song ensemble each contributed to the song. An indigenous Amis chant by Putad of Taiwan, the rhythm of Mauritian Sega by Emlyn, a piece of choreography by Sauljaljui of Taiwan and Poemoana of Tahiti, the Valiha by Madagascar music legend Sammy, and the beat of Papua New Guinea by master drummer Airileke.

Selina Leem, the youngest speaker at COP21 ended the song with a quote “If this is the story for our island, this is the story for the whole world.”

Environmental Organisations We Admire

The Guardians Climate change newsletter, The New Times Climate change newsletter, Greenpeace daily Newsletter, FOE, 350.org Australia, Global Citizen, Reasons to be cheerful, Climate Home News

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