Igelese “Groovalation”

1995-igelese-groovalationA YouTube commenter sums up the impact of this video thusly: “it was hits like this that actually triggered off and established the Pacifica brand, thus Aotearoa actually taking into consideration what the islands had to offer in terms of creative arts and music”. And there’s something to be said for a video that is full of bold, fresh young Polynesian culture.

“Groovalation” is an upbeat track, merging traditional Polynesian music styles with contemporary hip hop, pop and R&B and multi-lingual lyrics. It’s a bit of everything and could only come from New Zealand.

Igelese Ete worked hard to get the video funded. As Dub Dot Dash notes, the initially labelless song was turned down three times for video funding before indie label Papa Pacific finally came along.

The video takes a similar form, using scenes of traditional Polynesian performers, mixed with the contemporary performers. The more traditional bits of the video are shot in sepiatone, giving it a bit of reverential distance. Whereas the big joyful crowd singalong (and shoutalong sometimes) is filmed in colour, which is just as well considering the bright palette of the lavalava, suits and and sportswear the large group is wearing.

The video gets away with things that might not work in another situation. While the group bust out a multi-lingual rap in the middle of the song, the video alternates between footage of the rapping and footage of an older man in tradition dress who appears to be chanting something unrelated to the song. While this song helped pave the way for contemporary Pacific culture in New Zealand, it is very much aware of those who came before them.

Best bit: the slightly out-of-place “Ski Colorado” sweatshirt.

Directors: Simon Baumfield, Makerita Urale
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… time travel.

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