The brainchild of Australian filmmaker Tim Cole and his Taiwanese partner and producer BaoBao Chen, Small Island Big Song is a little jewel-like idea that grew into a huge project involving a three-year journey around 16 islands in the Pacific and Indian Ocean, recording more than 100 indigenous musicians using the language and instruments of their homeland.
This beautiful documentary explores the Austronesian migration theory that many present-day Oceanic cultures originated in Taiwan and seeks to establish musical links between cultures as far afield as Hawaii, Madagascar, New Zealand, Borneo, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tahiti, Guam and Rapa Nui (Easter Island). Capturing this incredible music is one thing, but the film goes one step further, mixing the performances from different musicians in different locales into a brilliant smorgasbord of overlapping and inter-connected styles, accentuating both the similarities and regional differences of traditional instruments, voices, language and rhythm. The resulting music is nothing short of jaw-dropping, and as a piece likely the first time these traditional instruments have been mixed together.
A towering musical achievement but also a heartfelt plea for environmental awareness and preservation, Small Island Big Song delivers a powerful and relevant musical statement of a region on the frontline of global, cultural and environmental challenges.
With an introduction by director Tim Cole and producer BaoBao Chen, followed by a DJ set by Tim in the Café & Bar featuring the indigenous music of the Pacific & Indian Oceans.