This particular post was supposed to come before my last one (FIELDWORK TRIP: SAMOA, MAY 2015), but somehow I forgot to post it. So here it is:
2015 is my FIELDWORK year – the year where I put on my ‘Budget-Buster’ hat and do things to make sure I can afford to travel to collect the data that I need in order to write my thesis. These things include scabbing all the coins from my kids’ piggies, gradually down-sizing their lunchbox menus without them realising it, and ‘forgetting’ to pay for school trips so that when they get to their dad’s house, he ends up paying for them – you know, little things like that….
So – early this year, I went home to Auckland to check out the Archives of Maori and Pacific Music. I already had a sense of what historical recordings of Samoan music were already on the shelves there thanks to the online catalogue that I have practically stalked since 2011, but I just needed to have a literal noseying-around to check if I could find anything extra. I wasn’t disappointed – the archives is an amazing goldmine of so many Pacific audio/video/dvd collections that anyone researching Maori/Pacific music and dance will find immense value in what these guys have here. But before I begin salivating while describing my archival finds, let me tell you about the other side of my trip first – the personal side lol.
Going home to conduct research isn’t as easy as it sounds, especially if you’re Samoan…and if you go to EFKS church…and you’re a faipese….and (even worse)..your dad is a faipese too. Can I get a “pressure!” up in here…Nod your head, raise your hand in the air and say “Aye-MEN!” if you hear me. My visit coincided with my dad’s month in charge of church choir music so yes that meant he could have a nice break while I took over the choir for him. I love my home church choir but choir practices are almost triple time-consuming than what I have to deal with in Melbourne. So, peses were on Wed 530pm-730pm and Sat 4-6pm with Sunday service 11am-1pm – that’s about 6 hours every week. That very month, the church lost a dear member to cancer so that meant heavy preparations for the church choir for extra services (epic 3-hour rehearsals x2 that one week). All of this, while I had to visit the archives everyday 10am – 4pm for one solid week – and I had the kids with me too!
I know you’re probably asking me the question: “But Rita..why didn’t you ask someone else to do peses for you so you could do your research?” – I’m sorry..I don’t understand your question (uppercut yourself if you are Samoan and you asked me this question).
Moving on: The Archives of Maori and Pacific Music and Dance. I was granted access to many different collections and types of Samoan songs and given digital copies of these by archival manager Nigel Champion who basically made my research such an easy process – Thank you Nigel! I worked in a small room and basically sat there all day listening to music and taking selfles every hour to Facebook everyone lol. Some of the songs I listened to were from commercially released LP albums from 1960s onwards, some were from Richard Moyle’s fieldwork days in Samoa in the late 1960s, a sizeable collection came from 2AP Radio Samoa recorded 1970s onwards, also a digitised copy of 1910/1911 recordings that are originally kept in Berlin. However, one of the highlights for me was accidentally coming across sacred Samoan songs that were actually commercially released in the 1970s as an album of Samoan love songs – when I realised I had found recordings that were important to my research, out came the fist pumps and my 1-min victory dance (running man, Roger rabbit, the robot etc).
So the trip was awesome, my family were a huge help in keeping my kids busy whilst I hit the archives. Big shout-out to my brother who took the kids for a few days and when we organised swap-over, he brought my son into the city with no shoes – yep, I did one of those..walk down Queen Street..see my 6yo with no seevae, then quickly walk past him and pretend not to be his mother. Also, big thumbs up to the lady who drove the 487 from Manukau to Otara one Thursday night I caught the bus, eating her KFC drumstick and navigating the streets of Otara like a boss.
Thank you for reading my blog post and staying right to the end (it’s a mission, I know). Hope it changed your life.