Yoyo from Rapa Nui (Easter Island), musician of Small Island Big Song

A band composed by musicians coming from small islands across the Oceans to tell the World how Climate Change is affecting their homelands: Yoyo Tuki is one of them, band member of Small Island Big Song.

Yoyo from Rapa Nui (Easter Island), musician of Small Island Big Song

Small Island Big Song is a cultural enviromental-friendly project created by the Australian Music Producer Tim Cole and his wife Bao Bao which features over a hundred aborigenous musicians across 16 island nations of the Pacific and Indian Oceans, in order to shape a contemporary musical statement of a region in the frontline of cultural and environmental challenges. The album was recorded and overdubbed in Nature, on the artists’ custodial land. It is all in all a fair-trade music release.

Yoyo Tuki is one of the first musicians recruited by Tim Cole and Bao Bao, he lives in the most remote island of the World, its original name goes by Rapa Nui meanwhile it is World-known as Easter Island. Born and raised on said island he is a professional singer-songwriter, composer, guitar and ukelele player who combines moods and flavours from traditional Rapa Nui to Reggae, Afro, Folk, Latin, New Age and more. Yoyo decided to embark on this musical enterprise to make the World aware of the danger of Global Warming and Climate Change which is directly threatening his homeland.

Thanks to Culture and Music the band hopes to rise awareness towards severe environmental issues which are directly affecting them and their families, some of the musicians of Small Island Big Song travel around the World with Tim Cole and Bao Bao to tell everyone what’s truly happening in the ocean and what they’re experiencing first-hand in their island nations.

This is the interview given by Yoyo Tuki musician from Easter Island for First Arte.

What do you want to tell the World through the Small Island Big Song project?

“All of us band members come from little tiny islands lost in the Ocean, our ancestors never knew the day would come when Climate Change would start threatening our homelands, today we need a bigger space for our people, we don’t know where we will survive in the next years.

We are currently collecting trash which accumulates in our shores, garbage from Europe is floating all the way to us through the Pacific. Ocean is giving us a sign, we are the ocean people and we stand for these remote areas. The island communities collect this trash and make videos to make people all around the World aware that this is happening in their everyday lives.

My island Rapa Nui (Easter Island in English) is very isolated, 4000 kms to the nearest place, anyhow in our shores accumulates plastic, rubbish that comes from far away, expecially from Europe and Asia. People living on small islands similar to mine are suffering much from Climate Change and Modern Societys’ rejects.”

Are you angry because of the disgrace befalling your homelands?

“It’s a cultural war we fight, one we have to fight, if we get angry and frustrated it’s simply because the first nations of the World are not listening: we were once all indigenous people and we only wanted to live in harmony with Nature.

I’m just making a statement across cultures, we are living in a modern world but still we live next to the Natural Ancient World, somehow I hope the message of our ancestors will touch you guys and hopefully you’ll see the World also from our perspective, the people of the Pacific Ocean.
As artists we have a crucial role to play to make everyone aware of the danger of Climate Change.”

What is the advantage of Music to transmit knowledge and messages?

“There were Ancient Times when people didn’t possess writing tools, so Indigenous people from Australia had an oral database of information transmitted to their offspring only through songs and lullabies which represented everything for them.

History tells us that music has been always there, the first people used it to communicate important social schemes to each other, even the Modern World still listens to radio and stuff told in music. Music is a primary way of connection for human beings, it is closely connected to life, through music stories are being narrated: since the Origins it has been a powerful way of expressing ourselves and this is why we chose it to tell also this story.”

Written and Translated by Gerardo Iannacci