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2023 WOMADelaide, our Australian premiere 澳洲首演 2023 WOMADelaide 藝術節

We’ve left Adelaide but still feeling the buzz from the last few days. We’ve been touring this production & new album ‘Our Island’ since Jan 2022 across the USA, Italy, Taiwan, and finally bringing it to one of our favorite festivals in Australia. It means so much to us.

“a celebration not only of 31 years of WOMADelaide , but of community. We achieved record attendances of more than 110,000 people over 4 days.” - WOMADelaide

A bit of the back story.

We left our jobs after Chrismas 2015, over the next 3 years, with our cameras and microphones, we traveled to 16 island nations, visiting musicians to record songs with them in nature. We journeyed these songs from island to island for other musicians to contribute to, over the years collaborating with over a hundred Austronesian musicians. These songs and connections became the foundations of the project, a feature length music film and our debut self-titled album ‘Small Island Big Song’.

From 2020 to 2021, throughout the pandemic, we kept busy meeting online from our different islands (and time zones!) from across the Pacific & Indian oceans to share the voice of our island homes, our lived experiences of environmental change, writing & producing our second album ‘Our Island’.

Some of us will lose our island homes to rising sea levels and all of us are witnessing the death of our reefs and disappearing sea life, it’s soul destroying. Our response is to share that loss in song, supporting each other and you, the listener, but also to celebrate nature and our cultures. We do live in extraordinarily beautiful places and we want to share that, too. We have to, for our island we all share.

‘Some say our ocean divides us, we say our ocean unites us.’

Small Island Big Song concert at WOMADelaide featuring Putad - Amis people, Taiwan

Emlyn- Mauritius Sammy - Madagascar

Richard Mogu - Papua New Guinea

Yoyo Tuki - Rapa Nui (Easter Island) Manu - Mauritius

Co-founder & producer

BaoBao Chen - Taiwan

Co-founder, filmmaker & music producer

Tim Cole - Australia

Photos by Samra Teague

Small Island Big Song ft. Putad of Amis people, Taiwan

vocals, Ravanne, Garamut, shakers, Maravann, Kundu, Triangle & Amis dance

In the proud spirit of her indigenous Amis heritage, Putad unites ancient vocal traditions with raw energy of grunge, rock and punk, as her band Outlet Drift express. Since joining SIBS in 2020, she has become one of the feature artists and toured across the world with the ensemble.

Small Island Big Song ft. Emlyn of Mauritius

vocals, Ravanne, Maravann, Triangle, shakers, & Sega dance

Featured on CNN, Emlyn is leading a wave of performers across the Indian Ocean proudly reclaiming their unique Sega rhythms and cultural mix. SIBS didn’t meet Emlyn ‘physically’ until Jan 2022 (we all know why!), two years after they started working together, and have toured with her across four continents since.

Small Island Big Song ft. Yoyo Tuki of Rapa Nui (Easter Island)

vocals, kundus, garamut, calabash, conch, shakers, ukulele & Hoko dance.

A mana (Substance of presence) ringing out through his singing, music, art and performance, lifting us above our prejudices. Pioneering fusions of reggae, folk and funk with his mastery of Polynesian ukulele styles, Yoyo sings out for one of the most remote islands on Earth.

World tour next stop

Small Island Big Song ft. Richard Mogu of Papua New Guinea

vocals, Kundus, Garamut, Kabosy Bass, conch & Ravanne.

Mogu is a master of traditional and contemporary instruments including the Kwakumba flute, Garamut drum, and PNG’s iconic Kundu drum. Tim and Richard have been long-time collaborators; we met up again during our field trip to PNG in 2016. He’s featured in both albums and concert world tours.

Small Island Big Song ft. Sammy of Madagascar

vocals, Kabosy, Jejy, Valiha, Sodina, Garamut, shakers & Zebu dance.

Sammy followed his passion for Madagascar’s musical heritage by mastering and making most of Madagascar’s instruments. His band ‘Tarika Sammy’ was recognized as one of the world’s “Best Ten Bands”, alongside U2, by TIME Magazine. We met Sammy at his house in Madagascar during our field trips there in 2016 & 2017. He’s featured in both albums and concert tours around the world since 2018.

Small Island Big Song ft. Manu of Mauritius

vocals, Ravanne, Kundus, Kabosy Bass, Calabash & Kabosy.

Along with Emlyn, Manu is spearheading the new wave of Mauritian musicians. He’s also the music director and performer for the dance company Les Frères Joseph. Tim & BaoBao first met Manu on a beach in Mauritius in 2016, and he has just joined the SIBS ensemble at WOMADelaide.

Cooking workshop Taste the World

Small Island Big Song ft. Emlyn & Putad with a dash of Sammy’s improvisation.

Emlyn’s recipe

Mauritian Veggie Archar

Ingredience: Cabbage (diced into small pieces) Carrots (diced into small 1cm cubes) Handful green beans (cut into small 1cm pieces) Brown onion (finely diced) Clove Garlic (crushed, finely diced or grated) Ginger (finely grated or diced) Long green chillies (finely diced) Juice of 1 lime 2 tablespoons Achar Masala spice mix (ready made) 1 teaspoon salt

Put all the prepared ingredients as described in a bowl, give your hands a super good clean and dive them in full gusto squeezing and mixing for the length of Sammy’s Valiha song…. 3 mins later it’s ready!

Putad’s recipe Stir fry Tatoerep (pipis) with basil & Amis chili

Heat up the sesame oil, put in some sliced ginger, till turned brown. Stir in rice wine, soy sauce and chopped garlic. Add Tatoerep (pipis) and cook until they open up. Stir in basil and Amis chili, then sprinkle some Tana (prickly ash, common Amis spice) powder on top before serve.

Note. Tatoerep is the Amis word for pipis, but the dish is not traditional Amis, more of a Taiwanese dish. Amis usually cook with local ingredients which are hard to get elsewhere, and usually use salt for flavouring only.

Ingredients: Tatoerep (Pipis) Basil Ginger Garlic Sesame oil Rice wine

Dance Workshop

Small Island Big Song

Sega dance of Mauritius by Emlyn

Hoko dance of Rapa Nui by Yoyo Tuki & Camila

Amis chant of Taiwan by Putad

Zebu dance of Madagascar by Sammy

Garamut drumming of PNG by Richard Mogu

WOMADelaide Back Stage

So beautiful meeting other islander musicians backstage. Danielle is a PNG artist who just won Pacific Break last year and is now performing at the festival. Richard Mogu used to be her producer and went to the same uni as her parents! Small world! We also met up with a women group from the Torres Strait who saw our very first show at #FestPac in Guam back in 2016! Wonderful to reconnect again and share the project’s progress in the past 7 years.

Thank you ABC Australia for the invitation to include us in their documentary.


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