SAMOAN OLD SCHOOL:  “The Five Stars” E Le Alofa e

31 Mar

​​The Five Stars is one of the bands that covered songs from other famous string bands in Samoa like the Tiama’a and Punialava’a,[1]


Formed in 1974 the Five Stars were mainly a family outfit. They consisted of brothers Alofa and Solomona (Soloman) Tu’uga and their relatives Samu Poulava-Selesele, Faifua Fa’atoe and Uili Misa. They were also managed by Afoa Tu’uga who was the father of Alofa and Solomona Tu’uga. They were Hibiscus Records most prolific recording artists and during their career they released nine albums on vinyl LP and compact cassette and received two awards. One was a Gold Discs award and in 1986 the other was a New Zealand Music Award.[2] In the 1990s most or all of their LP catalogue was released on compact disc.

In April 2006, band leader, Alofa Tuuga Stevenson died in Brisbane, Australia.

A current version of the band continues as The Five Star Band with some remaining members and their family members.[3]

Lyrics (English)

you put the words of the covenant
Ambitions slave faithful servants

While this is to open the truth

My beloved is let claimants

Or there is more to your eyes

As an illustration I looked around only anger

Instead wish to give up on corruption

the ability to find my duffel sweetheart

Thoughts for any significant future

I do not forget you my dear one

My beloved is let claimants

Who are more in your eyes

As an illustration I looked around only anger

Stay inside your word

enough blood through love

In practice I have suffered

love and suffer thine hand

My beloved is let claimants

Or there is more to my eyes

As an illustration I looked around only anger

My beloved is let claimants

Or there is more to my eyes

As an illustration I looked around only anger

surrounded only by enemies


Lyrics (Samoan)

E le alofa e moni lava e faigata

ua e tuu upu o le feagaiga

Naunauga le pologa auauna fa’amaoni

A o lenei ua e tatala le upu moni

La’u pele ea se’i ta’utino mai

Po’o ai ea ua sili i lau va’ai

pei o se ata ou foliga ua si’omia ai na o ita

Nai moomooga musu e i tauvalea

le tomai saili maia la’u manamea

Mafaufauga mo so taua lumana’i

ou te le fa’agalo oe la’u pele tasi

La’u pele ea se’i ta’utino mai

Po o ai ea ua sili i lau va’ai

Pei o se ata ou foliga ua si’omia ai na o ita

Tumau i lo’u loto lau afioga

ua lava toto ai ala le alofa

E le masaniga ua ou tigaina

alofa ia ma tu’u maia o lou lima

La’u pele ea se’i ta’utino mai

Po o ai ea ua sili i la’u va’ai

Pei o se ata ou foliga ua si’omia ai na o ita

La’u pele ea se’i ta’utino mai

Po o ai ea ua sili i la’u va’ai

Pei o se ata ou foliga ua si’omia ai na o ita

ua si’omia ai na o ita

Samoan lali log drums at Piula Theological College

Traditional Samoan musical instruments included a fala, which is a rolled-up mat beaten with sticks. It is an idiophone which often accompanied choral singing. Another idiophone, a soundingboard, sometimes accompanied the solo recitation of poetry. A conch shell was blown for signaling. Amusement for small groups and individuals in private was afforded by a jaw harp, a raft panpipe, and a nose-blown flute. In recent times it is not uncommon to see the use of Pātē, a hollowed out slit drum which was introduced by Cook Islands missionaries visiting Sāmoa. It usually replaces the Fala and is played in the same rhythmic patterns.
A musical or theatrical presentation celebrating a special event in which performance groups alternate in an attempt to outdo each other’s efforts has come to be called a fiafia. It is often a hotel performance, in which dances now called siva Samoa and sasa are performed.

“Amerika Samoa”, a song with words by Mariota Tiumalu Tuiasosopo and music by Napoleon Andrew Tuiteleleapaga, has been the official territorial anthem of American Samoa since 1950. “The Banner of Freedom,” a song that honors the flag of Samoa, has been the national anthem of Samoa since 1962; it was composed by Sauni Iiga Kuresa.

Modern music 

Modern pop and rock have a large audience in Samoa, as do several indigenous bands, which have abandoned most elements of Samoan traditional music, though there are folksy performers. Some pop musicians in New Zealand learned new dance styles on a trip to the islands of Samoa, an important early node in transmitting and translating U.S street dance to Aotearoa. Recently,[when?] the Samoan population has seen a resurgence of old Samoan songs, remixed in the style of Hawaiian reggae, but with some traditional elements, such as the use of the pate and the chord structure still in use. New Zealand continues to produce modern popular Samoan stars, such as Jamoa Jam and Pacific Soul. Even traditional hymns (pese lotu) have seen a fair amount of change. Some pop bands, such as the RSA Band and the Mount Vaea Band, are associated with hotels; some hotel bands have toured in New Zealand and elsewhere. Pop musicians include the Lole, Golden Ali’is, The Five Stars, and Jerome Gray, whose “We Are Samoa” remains an unofficial national anthem. A Samoan group called Le Pasefika, going against the current trend by playing only old music, has become the hottest-selling Samoan group in the United States.

The nearly three decades of Samoan involvement in street dance and rap music in the United States has significantly affected cultural production in places where Samoans settled, particularly New Zealand. In the early 1980s, Footsoulijah, four Samoan performers from Wellington, credit the Blue City Strutters, who later became the hip-hop group Boo-Yah T.R.I.B.E, for spreading their lifelong interest in street dance and their eventual gravitation towards hiphop. Footsoulijah is animated and colorful, and always perform in camouflage fatigues, which represent their militaristic name. The group composed the anthem “Represent for My People,” which includes the chorus “Always represent for my peoples / Pacific islanders of foreign soil / style lethal / take a look as we enter the next chapter / flip the script / Polynesian is my flavour.”[1]

There is currently a dichotomy between old and new in cultural aspects of Samoan life, especially dance. Some assert, “Whereas Samoan music has adopted guitars and other musical instruments, dance, which relies solely upon the performers body (with some exceptions—fire dance, knife dance, etc) still requires the performer to retain grace and move their arms and hands in the approved fashion”[2] but a National Geographic article from 1985 shows a “juxtaposition of ‘tradition’ and ‘modernity’ with two markedly different photographs of Samoan youth.”[3] One photograph has a Samoan child in traditional garb, dancing in a traditional way; the other shows a youth dressed in typical hiphop-style dancing.

Like other Samoans, Kosmo, one of the most famous Samoan hip-hop artists, picked up his dance moves while living in California. He integrated a combination of a bit of strutting, a little boogaloo and popping, and some tutting into his music. He learned the dance while staying with family in Carson, a community that drew large numbers of Samoans relocating from the islands in the 1950s-1970s. As he discovered, popping and other ‘street dance’ forms thoroughly saturated the lives of Samoan youth growing up in the late 1970s and early 1980s in Carson and neighboring Compton and Long Beach. He vividly remembers, “all the coolest cats was poppin’ down at [Carson’s] Scott Park.”[3][4] When he returned to New Zealand, his vocabulary brought him prestige among his peers, most of whom tried to integrate dance moves from movies. 
“Kosmo didn’t consider himself any good until he returned to New Zealand. . . . Here they were just doing the basics, he knew more.” For young artists, this hiphop-oriented form of dancing was not only a way to express oneself creatively, but also a powerful sexual tool: “For young men, dance skills also helped to attract the young women who were always present either as critical audience or fellow dancers. As Kosmo recalls, “All the poppers [5] got the girls,” highlighting another case of dance as an equalizing sexual power tool utilized by both sexes in global hip hop.[3] In 1990, Kosmo and two fellow Samoans created The Mau, a hiphop group named for the organization that pushed for Samoan independence under the German and New Zealand colonial administrations. Although the name was rooted in Samoan history, it demonstrates U.S. influences. Similar to the movement of black consciousness in America, the motto for the Mau movement in Samoa was Samoa Mo Samoa ‘Samoa for Samoans’. The group continued to articulate a diasporic Samoan cultural nationalism by drawing upon their knowledge of Samoan history, as well as the popular stories of the Black Power movement presently circulating in American hiphop. Their combination of Samoan heritage and American iconography influenced many groups that followed.[3]

Samoans abroad have achieved some musical renown. The Boo-Yaa TRIBE had a brief flirtation with the American mainstream, and the Samoan Sisters found more lasting fame in New Zealand. The shows My Idol and Samoa Star Search became important musical competitions in Samoa. Modern Samoan music shows influence from electrical instruments, jazz, and reggae, and even some house and techno styles.

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Posted by on March 31, 2017 in tropical islands



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