Monday, 29 October 2007 11:14 AM

Narasirato Pan Pipers to Saudi Arabia

The Narasirato musicians leave for Bahrain, east of Saudi Arabia, to perform in one of the country's biggest festivals.

The group was invited to represent Solomon Islands at the "The Flying Elephant Festival" following their very impressive performance at the World Cultural Music Festival in Malaysia, in July this year.

Comprising of over fifty musicians, the Narasirato Pan Pipers, who prefer to play with a minimum of nine musicians with preferences being fourteen performers for international touring, saw eight of their members leaving the country for the Persian Gulf yesterday.

Band promoter based in Australia, Peter Keelan, is accompanying the group.

Narasirato Panpipe Association president, John Bosco, said the tour is the first for the group to perform in a country in the Middle East.

According to the Narasirato Pan Pipers website, the group was not able to pursue overseas performance plans during the social unrest in the Solomons, which included a proposed tour of South Africa with the late Lucky Dube.

The Narasirato musicians come from Oterama village at the remote southern end of Malaita Island, living a traditional subsistence lifestyle, farming and fishing to care for their families, whilst pursuing their passion for music, song and dance.

With a mix of virtuosic pan pipe music performed while dancing intricate choreographies, all of which relate to their rich 'Are 'Are culture, the Narasirato musicians have astounded audiences in England, Taipei, Vanuatu, Canada, New Zealand and Australia with their outstanding traditional and contemporary pan pipe music performances.

Their music is a blend of many of the old traditions being revived, added to their extensive repertoire of traditional music, as well as creating their own unique contemporary sound.

Instruments used include a magnificent array of pan pipes, from small 'soprano' instruments to huge bass blown pipes, stamping tubes, thong-o-phones, small drop tubes, rich vocals and harmonies, drums and percussion. All instruments and costumes have road cases for transport and touring purposes.

The website explained that the group's music typically depicts natural sounds and human actions such as bird and animal calls, oceans and rivers, children playing or crying, rustling trees and people at work, skillfully capturing the visual and aural images of everyday life in the 'Are 'Are village.

"This music can bring a sense of peace, elicit strength, attract a partner or inspire dance and celebration," the website said.

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By STEVE BANI Vura Heights, East Honiara
By GEOFFREY MAURIASI USP, Lacuala Campus, Fiji
By CHARLES KOULI Gizo, Western Province