NAATAPUITEA: An Artistic Interpretation of Traditional and Contemporary Samoan Musical Structures, Instrumentation and Koniseti

Ete, Igelese
Ings, Welby
Helu-Thaman, Konai
Fraser, Walter
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Doctor of Philosophy
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Auckland University of Technology

Positioned as an artistic, practice-led inquiry, this thesis asks “What is the potential for Samoan ways of knowing the land, genealogy and ritual to resource creative fāgogo (Samoan storytelling).” In researching this idea, the composer draws upon his genealogical connection to the legend of Nafanua, traditional and contemporary instrumentation, chiefly oration (lauga) and ritual, as foci for designing a contemporary choral work. Emanating from an interpretivist paradigm, the research design is guided by the principles of fa’aaloalo (respect), tautua (service with integrity) and attaining malie (a certain sweetness). The practice-led, cyclic methodology employed in the project, moves through phases of fesili (questioning), foafoa (taking action), mai totōnu (inner reflection) and mai fafo (external reflection), as the researcher develops and refines the work. The study contributes to the development of contemporary, indigenously resourced performance in the revived form of a traditional koniseti. By creatively synthesising traditional values, chants, chiefly oration, traditional instruments and pre-missionary vocalisations, the research makes explicit complex relationships that exist between Samoan principles and artistic practice. As an extension of this, the study also proposes a conceptual reconsideration of the lauga (chiefly oration) of a tulāfale (talking chief) and demonstrates how a contemporary Samoan composer might ‘give voice’ to pertinent concerns relating to climate change and the role of tautua (service) in leadership.

Fāgogo , Koniseti , Nafanua , Vā Tapuia
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