Something I’m extremely pleased to see in Fiji is an upsurge of the arts and they took the form of exhibitions(Sokota and Kudru) and most recently VOU’s production ‘Mataqali Drift’.
'Mataqali Drift’ was a family affair for us. My 13 year old son and 4 year old daughter along with my husband were dragged to this by me and I am happy report that it stimulated 2 separate heavy discussions with the son and husband. For my son it was regarding the music, my daughter- the dancing. My husband, the narrative of Fiji's pulse at this moment in time through dance and music, are we drowning without our culture?
Now others may be moved by the casts majestic dancing (and rightly so) but I am a music lover, I am stimulated by music, music fills my time and marks events in my life and what instantly grabbed me and pulled me in was the music of 'Mataqali Drift’. Hauntingly beautiful, almost ethereal and appropriately so with the weighty message of connecting with your roots in this drift of chaos and progress(my interpretation).
How does one equate the gravity of what I've witnessed tonight? I am so heavy and light at the moment - heavy because I know what these dancers are trying to say, I feel it when I go back to the village and there is a disconnect, I understand it when my daughter doesn't understand my dialect when her grandmother is talking to her. Light because I am finally witnessing an artistic take on a deeply contentious issue, Fiji is sorely lacking representation in the arts and to see VOU bring this to life for us is truly the dawn of the modern arts in Fiji.
Others from 'over the seas' might scoff at that and beg to differ about the performance and other tidbits but 'brasss' as a Fijian who has been advocating for creative artists in Fiji where there is below zero arts appreciation (that's another story) this is such a defining moment for us because it shows us that we're on the right path, a bloody slow one but the Soro's are chipping away at those walls slowly bringing about 'art appreciation', that's what our country needs.
Ok enough drama from me.
I was squeeling with deeee - light when I saw that Elena Baravilala was part of the cast and hearing her live on stage did not disappoint. In my opinion Eleni’s voice is wasted on main stream stuff which is how her star was exposed here in Fiji but I am beyond happy that she is on stage singing beautiful Fijian notes. Hmmm a thought what would we call Fiji’s Broadway?
I also need to give a special mention to Sachiko Miller (If I am correct I also heard her on some of the Fijian chants as well.) Another note worthy mention is Eremasi Rova, again ’+ points’ in my sons eyes that a Fijian rapper was apart of the cast.
And this my friends is what it’s all about…. artistic collaboration to bring about something beautiful that we can all enjoy.
I got the soundtrack for 'Mataqali Drift’ they made awesome Christmas gifts for the mataqali over the seas.(Annnd I don’t remember the prices, I’ll get back to you on that one)
Congratulations to VOU! Enjoyed every minute.
All photos sourced from voufiji.com