This song is so pretty. It’s one of my top 5 all-time favourite island jams, particularly the version by legendary Samoan band Five Stars.
The message is simple: if you love me, come back to me.
Here’s how I would translate it line by line:
Afai e te alofa / If you love (as in, if you have love for me)
se’i maliu maia oe / would you just come (already)
Foi mai ia ita / return to me
Ou te tagi atu nei / i am crying to you (pleading with you)
O ta’ita nei / myself
Ua fa’anoanoa / i am grieving
Foi mai pele ea / return to me my dearest
Foi mai / return
O tino e vaivai / the (my) body is weak
Dear ea i le fia va’ai / dearest, because I yearn to see (you)
Ta fia tepa tasi, / i want to return (to see) just one more time
darling, i ou foliga matalasi / darling, your beautiful face
Se tasi ua sili atu / the one who is more important (as in, if there is someone else more important to you than me)
Fa’agalo i lou manatu / remove that person from your mind
Fo’i mai pele ea / return to me my dearest
Fo’i mai / return
Set this beautifully tragic poetry to a haunting melody, soulful vocals against pensive arpeggios and you’ve got a true Samoan classic that is always going to be somewhere near the top of my playlist.