NATION

Republic of Fiji Military Forces Band Performs At Biggest Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo

Band performs alongside various other Pacific nations performers
19 Oct 2019 15:29
Republic of Fiji Military Forces Band Performs At Biggest Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo
Fijian performers at The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo at the ANZ Stadium in Sydney, Australia on October 17, 2019..

Performers from the Republic of Fiji Military Forces Band arrived in Sydney this week and took part in The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo’s Australia return. The band performed on Thursday night, last night and will perform again tonight at the ANZ Stadium. Today will be the final day of the The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

The Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) Band began its journey with a small Fife and Drums Band in June 1917. Since then, it has appeared at The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo in 1956 and 1998, as well as previous performances at the Edinburgh Tattoo in Melbourne and Wellington in 2016. The band also participated in the first-ever military Tattoo in Fiji in 2017 at the ANZ National Stadium.

Joining other Pacific performers

In traditional red and white uniforms, with a selection of brass and drums, the Fijian group joined with other Pacific performers from the Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Tonga, Samoa and the Cook Islands for an extraordinary six-minute performance entitled ‘Our Ocean People’ featuring the drums, percussion and dancers from each of the island groups – in total more than 350 performers from more than seven Pacific nations.

Under the theme ‘At All Points of the Compass’, the show was meant to take guests on a tour of the world, guiding them around 360 degrees of the atlas to tell the compelling tale of Australia’s place in history and its links with allies and friends, including Fiji.

To celebrate this theme, the Australian show took the audience on a circular tour around an imaginary compass rose with its centre at the dusty red heart of the continent – at Lambert Centre.

‘Songlines’

For thousands of years, the indigenous people of Australia navigated their ‘country’ using ‘songlines’ – an oral tradition of routes travelled – and with this notion as inspiration, five ‘song men’ to guide the audience to the edge of traditional lands, welcoming each international group to perform in turn.

The concept reinforces the purpose of the Tattoo in helping bring people together, to better understand each other’s cultures and ways of life to “arrive as strangers and leave as friends”.

The Tattoo returned to Australia with production partners, the Michael Cassel Group, as part of its ambitious Strategy for Growth. Announced in 2018, the ambitious growth programme includes doubling its turnover to £20 million (FJ$56.36m) by 2025 as well as additional signposted overseas tours to Canada and China by 2021.

Work was already underway with the business in regular conversations with the UK, Scottish and International Governments, local promoters and support networks.

Heritage and innovation

Brigadier David Allfrey MBE, chief executive and producer at the Tattoo, said: “We are proud and privileged to bring – in equal measure – the heritage and innovation of the Tattoo to our Australian audiences and are thrilled that the Republic of Fiji Military Forces Band are able to join the line-up.

“Not only do our nations have a wonderful shared history but also, we know well the richness of Fijian culture, music and the long connections with the United Kingdom’s Armed Forces. Many of the great Scottish Regiments, including my own – The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards – have soldiers from Fiji in their ranks; we are very proud of this.

“The military and cultural performers perform alongside the other Pacific nations who are taking part. But, above all, they make their own special impact across the span of the show.”

General Campbell, of the Australian Defence Force, said: “We return to Australia as part of a new period of growth for the Tattoo.

“This is an exciting step change for us reaching anew across the world, first to Australia, then over the next two years to China and North America.

“The Tattoo is all about bringing people together to reinforce relationships already made and making new friends for the future.”

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) provided a range of ceremonial and logistic support to the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo including more than 250 cast members, air and ground transport and co-ordination for participating nations.

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