Traditional Samoan Songs, Fables Made Available Online

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Recordings date back as far as 1940s

APIA, Samoa (Talamua, Nov. 9, 2015) – More than 600 traditional Samoan songs, and fagogo are now available online after the series was launched at the recent Sounds of Samoana Musicology forum in Apia.

Launched by Professor Richard Moyle who recorded and collected the unique audio material in (Western) Samoa and Manu’a island in American Samoa between 1966 and 1969 during field work for his Masters and later Doctoral degrees at the University of Auckland.

The main purpose of the research was to identify national musical idioms and styles. On the 50th anniversary of the start of collection, the material is being made publicly available online. It represents the only known survey of traditional Samoan music, comprehensive in both musical scope and geography.

The songs are of several categories, including feiloaiga, talaaga, alo vaa, laulau siva, mauluulu, ula, taalolo, taaloga a tamaiti, tagatia, fofo, solo tufa ava, solo sula toga, solo tau-aualuma, faleaitu, usutau, auala, siva, tini, vii o vaifanua, pese o aumoega, and pese o le Mau.

In addition to traditional songs, Moyle recorded oral tradition – lauga, fāgogo and tala – some of which formed the material for his books Samoan Traditional Music (1988) and Fāgogo: Fables from Samoa in Samoan and English (1981). Several of the fāgogo are already available online at an interactive language teaching platform:

The collection includes copies of several recordings from the 1940s and made available to Moyle while in Samoa. Although there is no documentation and the original recordings no longer exist, the songs relate to the period of the Mau.

Moyle has made the material in his collection freely available.

The collection is searchable within several fields: village, performer, musical genre and lyrics. The lyrics were supplied by the performers themselves or by fellow villagers.

Villages from which material was recorded include:

Manua (American Samoa)

Faleasao, Fitiuta, Ofu, Olosega, Sili, Tau


Amaile, Aopo, Fagaee, Fagamalo, Faiaai, Falealupo, Falelima, Faletagaloa, Foalalo, Fogatuli, Gataivai, Lalomanu, Letui, Neiafu, Patamea, Safai, Sagone, Salailua, Saleaaumua, Samalaeulu, Samamea, Samata, Samauga, Satoalepai, Saleaula, Samalaeulu, Samamea, Sataua, Satupaitea, Sili, Taga, Tiavea, Tufutafoe, Uafato, Vaipua.

Although much of the collection consists of performances by choirs and instrumental groups, many individuals contributed items.

Professor Richard Moyle welcomes feedback on the collection.

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