Sunday, 8 February 2015

E le matalasi. . .

This blog post is dedicated to +Sonya Van Schaijik

Tiama'a are one of my favourite Samoan bands of all time.  As a child I remember sifting through my parents' cassette tapes and coming across a tape called The Best of Tiama'a.  I had remembered that my Dad told me that the band was primarily from the village of Toamua in Samoa.  When I visited Samoa during Christmas we drove past the village several times back and forth from Fasitoouta and I often wondered if their descendants still sang the songs of their fathers and grandfathers.  Other well known Samoan musicians have recorded cover versions of this song such as  Le La Oso Band and Lapi Mariner.  

E le matalasi, o lenei olaga
Na'o le Atua lava, e toatasi le foafoaga
Fa'aopo ile vao, pupu'a le palapala
A o Lona alofa, ua laei mea uma lava

A o'o mai lea ole oti, ile lē faautauta
Pulea le Atua mea uma

The verse reminds us to think about the beauty of life and how God presides over its beauty, He is the one entity that Samoan people rely upon.  The chorus reminds us that when death arrives, particularly for those who have not carefully considered ways to be in their lives, how to live their lives and honour Him, people must bear in mind that God reigns over everything.

Tiama'a were quite well known for their distinctive guitar playing style now commonly known as igi which is the melodic plucking of the strings.  To find out more information about this style of playing check the following link from Coconet TV: Igi Samoan guitar picking



Mafaufau mai ia oe, ona meaalofa
E pule oe i lau, lava faamasinoga
E usitai le Atua, i lau fa'aiuga
Le uluai tagata na sesē le faamaualuga

Sometimes it is difficult to translate Samoan lyrics, purely for the fact that songs are quite dense with the use of metaphorical references.  The song poetry uses the word painting to conjure up images that can often be reflected in accompanying dance movements.  Thinking about you and your gifts, this verse speaks about you having the choice to make your own conclusion but it also harks back to the biblical reference of the original sin and the hybris of the first humans Adam and Eve.

This verse makes me think about my past transgressions and sins, probably not so much regrets, (even though I've been having conversations with people about regrets), but more about disappointments and the heartache that comes with negativity in life.  Will you close yourself off from living your best life?  It is important to open yourself to opportunities and experience as much as you can to gain the learning in this life that you need to progress to the next phase of your life journey.

A o'o mai lea ole oti, ile lē faautauta

Pulea le Atua mea uma

A o'o mai lea ole oti ile lē faautauta

Pulea le Atua mea uma

There is a third verse that Le La Oso Band sings but I have not found this in any Tiama'a recordings of this song, so I will not include it here.  If you notice that there are incorrect words in the lyrics, please make a comment below. The difficulty as well with Samoan songs is that not all of them have lyrics available online to ensure there is a high level of accuracy.

As I've mentioned earlier, the chorus reminds us that when death arrives, particularly for those who have not carefully considered ways to be in their lives, how to live their lives and honour Him, people must bear in mind that God reigns over everything. What happens when we don't take the time to carefully consider what it is that we need to do?  Will our lives be cut short?  How can we find the beauty or the matalasi of things, of people, of ourselves in our lives if we don't make the most of it?

I hope that when it comes to the time when your life comes to an end, that besides carefully considering how you want to see, taste, think and feel about your life - that you don't forget to live it. . .