Samoa joins the celebration of the UN International Jazz Day

The Samoana Jazz & Arts Festival Logo

APIA: THURSDAY 30 APRIL 2015: Samoa today joined for the first time almost 200 countries world-wide, in celebrating April 30 as the UNESCO International Jazz Day. But as there are two Samoas and on two different time zones, the day will be celebrated twice – first in Samoa – then the tomorrow in American Samoa.

The celebrations have been made through the Samoana Jazz and Arts Festival where Samoa’s Jazz Story was told during a Lunchtime Seminar at the National University of Samoa and a wide array of performances to celebrate the spirit of the day at Sails Restaurant, Mulinu’u.

In November 2011, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) officially designated April 30as International Jazz Day in order to highlight jazz and its diplomatic role of uniting people in all corners of the globe. International Jazz Day is chaired and led by Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director General, and legendary jazz pianist and composer Herbie Hancock, who serves as a UNESCO Ambassador for Intercultural Dialogue and Chairman of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz. The Institute is the lead nonprofit organization charged with planning, promoting and producing this annual celebration.

International Jazz Day brings together communities, schools, artists, historians, academics, and jazz enthusiasts all over the world to celebrate and learn about jazz and its roots, future and impact; raise awareness of the need for intercultural dialogue and mutual understanding; and reinforce international cooperation and communication. Each year on April 30, this international art form is recognized for promoting peace, dialogue among cultures, diversity, and respect for human rights and human dignity; eradicating discrimination; promoting freedom of expression; fostering gender equality; and reinforcing the role of youth in enacting social change.

Samoana Jazz & Arts Festival, an annual international festival of 2SAMOAS and inaugurated in 2014 was designed as a united Samoa platform of music and the arts. It recognizes the role of culture and identity Samoa’s people, culture, environment and offerings – and how these elements combined gives a 2SAMOA point of difference – an edge and an opening for innovation.

American Samoa – the birthplace of JAZZ in the Pacific region
The participation of Samoana in the UN International Jazz Day is significant – American Samoa is the southern-most border of the United States making it the birthplace of Jazz in the Pacific region. The international jazz day provides a first real opportunity in this context to highlight Samoa’s own Jazz history – which began at a significant era in the history of the world – during WW2 when the 2SAMOAs became the station and largest military base in the Pacific of the United States.

Mavis RiversSamoa’s first Jazz singer Mavis Rivers (1929-1992) became a featured name during this period as she sang the songs of the period for the thousands of homesick soldiers stationed in the Islands – http://www.elsewhere.co.nz/fromthevaults/6037/mavis-rivers-farewell-samoa-1950/

The Tale of 2SAMOAS is the untold Jazz story to be presented at seminars planned for the National University of Samoa, the American Samoa Department of Education Music and Arts Curriculum teachers, and for teachers and staff at the American Samoa Community College.

A Jazz Concert Thursday evening at 7pm Sails Restaurant in Apia will feature musicians, teachers and students and a Musicians Jazz Jam will be held at TOA’s in American Samoa.