Press Release – Massey University
Pasifika music coordinator at Te Kk New Zealand School of Music, Opeloge Ah Sam, has a pivotal role at this weekends We are Pasifika concert marking 20 years of the Manukau Symphony Orchestra.October 16, 2013
One man band leads Pasifika concert
Pasifika music coordinator at Te Kōkī New Zealand School of Music, Opeloge Ah Sam, has a pivotal role at this weekend’s “We are Pasifika” concert marking 20 years of the Manukau Symphony Orchestra.
In what could almost be described as a one-man band role, he is an adviser, scriptwriter, lyricist, arranger, and composer of the concert that celebrates South Auckland’s Pasifika community within an orchestral context.
The concert involves 12 orchestral pieces, performed by 85 players in the orchestra backed by 11 choirs.
Mr Ah Sam was determined to ensure that the concert would be representative and significant and not conform to easy stereotypes.
“All too often ‘Pasifika’ is focused around Samoa, Tongan and Fijian cultures,” he says.
“I wanted it to be more representative of the entire Pasifika community and so, for example, 11 Pacific languages are used within the texts. I’ve included three ‘Western’ arias – because they say something valid about the way Pacific people express themselves musically.”
Mr Ah Sam, who teaches at Massey’s Wellington campus, says the experience is connected to his PhD topic Modern Expressions of Samoan Identity through Music Composition. “It’s really about access and finding other ways of expressing ourselves musically as Pacific people in modern ‘Western’ society, and how to do this in a respectful manner so that both parties go away having gained something from each other.”
We are Pasifika will be held on October 19 at the Vodafone Events Centre, 770 Great South Road, Manukau, Auckland. Tickets are available on TicketDirect.