Exploring Healing in Musical Identities: A Samoan Perspective

Opeloge Ah Sam
PhD (Music Composition), Grad Dip Teach (Sec). Head of Department: Creative Arts, Abundant Life School, Kaitaia. Composer, conductor, and music director


Keywords: Culture, identity, music, Samoa, New Zealand

Growing up in Samoa, I would often find myself as a young boy sitting amongst various musical gatherings and contexts on a daily basis. My grandfather, Apulu Opeloge, was the Music Director at our church in the village of Falesi’u, as well as being my first music teacher, giving me my first taste of music on an orchestral xylophone that he bought from England in the 1960s. I was too short for the orchestral xylophone, which I still have in my home today, so I was made to stand on the plastic fizzy drinks crates from our village shop in order to reach it during our lessons. Every evening, in his role as one of the leading chiefs in our village, he would sit by his front door and keep a watchful eye during the curfew for family prayers, which was always ushered in by the blowing of a conch shell, and lifted with the same beautiful yet haunting sound… [Cont. in full journal.]

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