The very first video to be funded by NZOA was Moana and the Moahunters bilingual dance track “A E I O U”, but since then funded songs have been dominated by English language lyrics. So it’s thrilling to come across Tha Feelstyle delivering a supercool song that’s largely in Samoan. The song also uses an old Eurovision trick – have a hooky, singalong chorus in English and the non-English parts of the song won’t seem so isolating. The end result is a track that reached 27 in the singles chart.
The video is set in Samoa, with Tha Feelstyle returning to the islands after 20 years away. Right from the very start every shot is bustling with people and energy. Tha Feelstyle stomps around his village, surrounded by adoring kids who join in on the chorus.
There’s a sense that he’s the big dude from New Zealand returning to his hometown – and there’s a cool scene where Tha Feelstyle steps off the plane, wearing a lei of funsize Crunchie bars, and kisses the tarmac. This is followed by a lovely scene where the aunties and uncles warmly embrace him. But it’s not all adoration. About halfway though the song stops for a small scene where an uncle had some words for Tha Feelstyle, who looks suitably told.
There’s a lot packed into this video. It serves as both a record of Tha Feelstyle’s homecoming and just him mucking around with some local kids. And then there’s the scene with Tha Feelstyle mucking around with a machete in some long grass, like a kid who’d rather pretend to be a warrior than do his chores.
Best bit: one does not understand much Samoan, but one understands the international gesture for “smoking a jazz cigarette”.
Director: Chris Graham
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision
Next… some guys in suits.