Culture defines, unites us, says Ete

Igelese Ete with Pasifika Voices at the 47th Fiji Institute of Accountants Congress at Shangri-La's Fijian Resort. Picture: FELIX CHAUDHARY

CULTURE defines us, guides us and unites us, said renowned music director, composer and choral clinician Igelese Ete, as he shared how Pasifika Voices scored a major gig in the Disney animated movie, Moana.

During a presentation at the 47th Fiji Institute of Accountants Congress at Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort and Spa yesterday, quoted Mahatma Gandhi who said, “a nation’s culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people”.

“We must always remember that who we are and where we are from all form our identity, and when we find a way to harness our collective mana and express ourselves in a unified voice, we have something special to give the world,” he said.

Ete said a good example of this was the achievement of Pasifika Voices — a group of vocalists he put together .

“On the same day that our sevens rugby boys created history by winning gold in Rio, we were recording the songs you hear in Moana at the ICT Centre at the University of the South Pacific.

“In my view, what Pasifika Voices achieved was a gold medal in the arts —that’s a gold medal for Fiji, they represented us and we are all a part of that.” Ete said it was a remarkable feat given the short time given to the singers to learn the songs.

“The challenge was huge because we don’t have people taking private vocal lessons and we don’t have full-on music lessons available here.

“We had to find the people who had the ability to deliver and we had to create the voices we needed.

“We only had one week to learn these songs and in the second week the team from Disney came to record it over three days.” Ete said the accolades heaped on Pasifika Voices by the producers of the movie soundtrack was humbling.

“It just shows what we can do when we bring all our different cultures together, believe in ourselves and make a commitment towards excellence.

“And I always remind our team that excellence is planned, it never happens by accident — it requires a high level of commitment, a lot of hard work and faith in God.”

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