Well, it’s an interesting and a kinda touchy story.
If you’re Samoan, especially if you’ve got any interest in our rugby then you’ve most likely heard the song ‘Tama a Samoa‘… except, because it’s been recorded and performed by various artists, you may have heard or seen it called ‘Tama Samoa’.
It was composed in the early 90s in honor of our Manu Samoa rugby team and is now a crowd favourite – just about every Samoan party will include at least one energetic siva session to this extremely popular tune.
The song is also a favourite of my mom’s, so back in 2008, I figured it would be a great addition to our Samoan Lyrics. I found a version of it on YouTube and listened and transcribed it to the best of my abilities, then posted it up – all excited that we had this song now… only to be quickly reprimanded in the comments by its original composer.
Said Mr. Felise Mikaele:
wrong lyrics these shouldnt have been published on website without my consent and approval these lyrics were taken from the illegal version by the Rsa for which they were fined $25.000 nz 3rd & 4th verses lyrics have been swapped around you better take these misleading lyrics off the website
I normally don’t respond to angry comments but not only was this one from the owner of the copyrights, he happened to be someone I know in person – who obviously didn’t realize who was behind this blunder.
So I removed the song (it had also been listed as performed by Kapena) and sent Mr. Mikaele an apology by email.
I told him my name and how I remembered him from back in the day, hanging out with my parents. I expressed that I had only wanted to share his beautiful song with my online audience, but I wasn’t aware of any legal issues, etc.
He graciously replied, with surprise about my involvement with One Samoana… called my dad his best friend, and after a few exchanges, he agreed to send me the real lyrics for this song… someday.
Only a few years later lol… I was so excited to finally receive the CORRECT lyrics to Tama a Samoa in my inbox a couple weeks ago. It came with a blessing from the artist himself for me to share it on One Samoana
In his message to me, Mr. Mikaele also included this note about the history of this song:
This song was written during the 1991 Rugby World Cup as I was inspired by the Performance of the Manu Samoa Rugby Team for the first time in World Rugby. The song was not called or named “Manu Samoa” but “Tama A Samoa” or Sons of Samoa so that it will be heard as tribute or Anthem of all Samoan sportsmen and women in any Sports that put Samoa on the map, and not just Manu Samoa. From a business perspective, a wider market. Released in 1992 by Crescent Records International and Kiwi Pacific Records International and gone platinum 1994. Copyrights ownership of this song was registered with Apra/Amcos which have been breached 4 times, First 1994 by RSA Band for illegal re-recording the song,as Kapena in Hawai’i, 2011 Mastercard during the Rugby world cup, for using the song as backing music Mastercard TV Commercial and South Pacific Pictures for synchronizing the song to DVD. The biggest copyright infringement monetary settlement was Mastercard. To date still the Best Samoan selling Single of all time. It has two music videos the latest was produced in 2012 filmed whiled simulated by the Manu Samoa 7s for the 20th anniversary of the song. This music videos features the Samoa Head of Churches, the Samoa Head of State, Prime Minister Tuila’epa Sailele, MPs and other Samoan sports Icons.
I’m really proud of this man, not only for penning such a well-loved and deeply meaningful tribute to our Samoan sports talent, but for being the kind of artist who really knows the music business and takes a stand to protect his intellectual properties
It says something about the quality and originality of his work, and sets a great example of professionalism for other Samoan artists and musicians.
Felise Mikaele recently launched a new album (I missed the party 🙁 )… but look out for it in your favourite shops for Samoan music. Here’s more info about the launch last week: