Traditional Samoan Songs & Fables Available Online

The Talamua online news source has recently reported that more than 600 traditional Samoan songs, and fagogo (fable) are now available online after the series was launched at the recent Sounds of Samoan Musicology forum in Apia. The recordings date back to the 1940’s.

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 his 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.


A Samoan Village on a Wind-swept Day

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.

You can access these recorded oral traditions by clicking here.

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. 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.

To access this amazing collection of Samoan songs, simply click here.

Or, here.

About islandculturearchivalsupport

Island Culture Archival Support (ICAS) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of records pertaining to the cultural identity of island peoples in Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia whose national and public archives, libraries, cultural centers, and business organizations are underprivileged, underfunded, and understaffed. The specific purpose for which this nonprofit corporation was formed is to support the needs of these South Pacific cultural heritage institutions by helping to preserve and make accessible records created for business, accountability or cultural purposes. The organization will endeavor to add value by providing resources or volunteers to advise, train, and work among island residents to support their efforts in building their future and preserving their collective memory through the use of modern archival techniques.
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