2016 Samoana Jazz and Arts Festival

Dec 9, 2016Culture, Photography


DEC 2016

I love jazz, not in the way that fancy people love jazz, but in such a way that I have a jazz playlist on my iPod and I listen to it a bunch (especially when I’m making brunch—two very exceptional things on one playlist, score!) yet I don’t know any of the artists.

Last year when I was working for the Department of Commerce, the Samoana Jazz and Arts Festival organizer came by asking for assistance with the jazz festival. My boss volunteered me to be the official photographer and that’s a whole other story altogether.

This year, now that I am working at Bluesky as the social media and sponsorship coordinator, I met with the organizer again and this time volunteered myself to be the official photographer for the festival again. I went much more prepared, compared to last year when I almost cried over my insecurities as a photographer next to a cocky official looking guy with a ginormous camera. But that’s beside the point. It also helped to know the musicians this time around because it’s a lot more fun taking photos of people you’re comfortable with.

This is the 3rd Annual Jazz Festival. Every year it opens in American Samoa in the first weekend of November, and then travels over to Samoa for the following weekend. The musicians are mostly local to American Samoa and Samoa, and the style of jazz is localized and includes much more than just jazz music. There are more young bands participating and they have added their twist on jazz (think Valerie by Amy Winehouse, but more jazzy).

The first day of the festival started off with an ethnomusicology forum held at the American Samoa Community College, and then was followed by a corporate event in the evening. The second day is themed “Young, Gifted, and Jazz” for young musicians and artists to share in the spotlight. And the last day is jazz on the beach at Tisa’s Barefoot Bar for a roundup of music, fresh food and drinks.


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