Featured artists for tonight's concert include some of Samoa’s very popular Polynesian artists like Ma’ilo Ben Vai, as well as Richard Parker and many more. Here, Tualauta Representative Tapumanaia Galu Satele, welcomes the guest artists to American Samoa. [photo: TG]

The non-profit Speak Up Organization has teamed up with Penni Productions to host the “SPEAK-UP Amerika Samoa, Your VOTE is your VOICE Concert” tonight —Friday October 5, 2012— at the Veterans Memorial Stadium.

“Your Vote is Your Voice,” said Tapumanaia Galu Satele, President of the Speak Up Organization who noted the purpose of this concert is to encourage the youth to vote, and to exercise that right.

“If you register to vote and you show up with you voter’s card you go in free,” he noted. If you are under 12 years of age you go in free while for everyone else there’s a fee of $10 at the gate.

Tapumanaia, who is also one of two representatives for the Tualauta District, said upon his visit to the Election Office he found out that there are a total of 8,000 voters in the Tualauta District while only 3,000 voted in the last election. Island wide there’s about 19,000 to 20,000 eligible to vote, while only 13,000 voted.

“What happened to the rest?” asked Tapuamanaia.

According to information he received from the Election office, the age span of those who are not voting is between the ages of 19-25—which are mainly the youth. Yet, some of the biggest election issues often directly affect the youth.

Tapumanaia added that voting is a tremendous gift. “Believe it or not, young people just like you in other countries actually fight for this right, a right that so many youth in democratic nations take for granted. You should vote because ….you can vote,” said Tapumanaia.

Tapumanaia made it clear that this concert is not about telling you “who to vote for—rather just a movement for you to come vote.”

The Speak Up concert will feature some of Samoa’s very popular Polynesian Artists: Richard Parker, Joe Fialu, Ben Vai, Robyn Akari, To’afa Te’o, Robbie Jr Failua and Tongan Artist Melenau Lino.

All have agreed that the cause for this concert is something they will definitely perform for and advocate to all the youth…the importance of voting.

Songwriter and singer Richard Parker, a well-known Samoan artist who has ‘hits’ that have been and still are some of the hottest Samoan music that has reached our shores will be performing tonight at this concert.

Parker, who resides in Melbourne, Australia said when he was approached to perform to promote the youth vote, he was excited because he’ll be performing for an important cause, and something that should also be promoted in Apia.

“Growing up in Apia the youth are told who to vote for either by their chiefs and village councils, sometimes by the parents; but in American Samoans, I’m told, it is literally left up to the individual who to vote for—and yet the youth are not taking advantage of this.”

One of Richard’s hit songs is “Epi ua na’o oe suga” which was written for his wife Epi.

For Richard’s fans, he just released his latest MTV DVD/CD that will be available for sale at the concert.

Tony Alesana from Melbourne Australia, who raps with Richard said he’s honored to be part of this concert. “Music is universal and it brings the people together and the idea of having a concert to send a message to the youth is very creative, and I’m happy to be a part of it.”

Melenau Lino who’s Tongan from Auckland New Zealand is very excited to be performing in the territory and most importantly be part of the cause promoting youth to come out and vote.

It’s her first time in American Samoa and she’s looking forward to meeting the people. .  “I challenge everyone, especially my Tongan people to come out and support this cause,” said Melenau.

 “This concert has a meaning, it’s not another performance or a gig, but there's a huge meaning to this concert …voting is important.

Blue Darling, Apifo’ou, and Kolisi are some of Melenau’s songs.

If you’re a fan of the “Tauga Apu Trilogy” the writer and singers for this trilogy are also a part of this concert — Joe Failua, Robyn Akari and Robbie Jr Failua.

Joe, who spoke on behalf of their team, said the youth should think about the future and if you don’t vote and you are effectively just leaving off your ability to have any influence as to how these issues play out in your community—and are you sure that is what you want? He said that a government by the people, for the people just can’t work without the people.

Toa’fa Te’o based in New Zealand but originally from Vailele Samoa, one of the main actresses in the Samoan movie that’s filmed in New Zealand “Suasusu Male Meli” (Milk and Honey) is also a part of this concert. Toa’fa who sings in New Zealand said this is the first time she’s heard of any concert promoting the youth to vote, and it's very important and she’s happy to be a part of this initiative.

Samoan artist Ben Vai who’s based in Vaiala, Samoa is also among the singers who said he’s privileged to be part of a great cause.

Ben attended school here back in the 70s when his father was a church minister at CCCAS in Pago Pago.

While it's easy to say, “one vote doesn't make a difference” however, the reality is that every vote counts, he said.

“Also you have to remember that as an individual your vote may seem to be little more than a whisper, but when your vote is combined with the votes of others who share your views, it becomes a voice and the more like minded voters there are, the louder that voice grows.

“If you don't vote you really have no right to complain about government decisions you don't like,” he reminded. 

 “So get out there and make the youth vote be heard."


Comment Here