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The Loss Of Fijian Oral Culture, Through The Eyes Of Filmmaker

The Loss Of Fijian Oral Culture, Through The Eyes Of Filmmaker
A meke performance during the official welcoming ceremony for the RFMF commander last month.
July 17
10:39 2016

A short film documenting the loss of Fiji’s oral culture is available for viewing online.

American filmmaker, Gary Yost was in Fiji for two months and has put together nine films with four more to go.

“This film is a very important foundational piece about how Fijians, who are primarily an oral culture, hand down their history and knowledge from generation to generation through lullaby, songs and dance.

“A lot of this culture is being lost with the influx of television and the internet, and there’s interest in Fiji now among academics who want to preserve these traditions.”

In the film, Mr Yost spoke to a professor of ethnomusicology from the University of the South Pacific, Rosiana Lagi.

In an earlier interview, My Yost said he was struck about how music is so entwined into so many aspects of Fijian lives, and how music and dance are their oral and movement history.

“It’s how they pass on their history, and how they spend time together—whether it’s farming or playing rugby.

“The first time I saw a rugby team singing a prayer after they’d won the game—these were big guys, super masculine, and yet they’re all holding hands and singing this beautiful prayer.”

Another short piece, which is also available online is about the people of Rabi island, who were displaced from their native island of Banabas (currently called “Ocean Island”)

But in the film, there is joyous intensity singing and dancing.

Impressed, Mr Yost said: “That these people have not lost their spirit.”

The film was shot during the Savusavu Open Day in July last year.

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