Saturday, October 07, 2006

October 10th - happy birthday independent Fiji!

Happy 36th birthday independent Fiji!
from Wendy

Meda Dau Doka or God Bless Fiji is the national anthem of Fiji. The melody was adapted from a 1911 hymn by Charles Austin Miles entitled Dwelling in Beulah Land. The lyrics were composed by Michael Francis Alexander Prescott in a contest where the composers were asked to write words to the given tune. I went in the contest, wrote beautiful words, but well, the winner’s wife was one of the judges! The winner's text was adopted upon independence in 1970.

The English and Fijian lyrics are not translations of each other, and in fact have very little in common. The earlier version as a Fijian Patriotic Song – sere ni vanua – tune from hymn ‘Dwelling in Beulah Land’.

Meda Dau Doka

Meda dau doka ka vinakata na vanua
E ra sa dau tiko kina na savasava
Rawa tu na gauna ni sautu na veilomani
Biu na i tovo tawa savasava

Me bula ga ko Viti
Ka me toro ga ki liu
Me ra turaga vinaka ko ira na i liuliu
Me ra liutaki na tamata
E na veika vinaka
Me oti kina na i tovo ca

Me da dau doka ka vinakata na vanua
E ra sa dau tiko kina na savasava
Rawa tu na gauna ni sautu na veilomani
Me sa biu na i tovo tawa yaga

Bale ga vei kemuni na cauravou e Viti
Ni yavala me savasava na vanua
Ni kakua ni vosota na dukadukali
Ka me da sa qai biuta vakadua

English Version from 1970, winner of the contest – but not a translation

God Bless Fiji

Blessing grant oh God of nations on the isles of Fiji
As we stand united under noble banner blue
And we honour and defend the cause of freedom ever
Onward march together God bless Fiji

For Fiji, ever Fiji, let our voices ring with pride.
For Fiji ever Fiji her name hail far and wide,
A land of freedom , hope and glory to endure what ever befall.
May God bless Fiji
Forever more!

Blessing grant oh God of nations on the isles of Fiji
Shores of golden sand and sunshine, happiness and song
Stand united , we of Fiji, fame and glory ever
Onward march together God bless Fiji.

Lyrics by Michael Francis Alexander Prescott
Music by C. Austin Miles

What the Yellow Bucket, in Fiji Village says about the Fiji national anthem.

YB’s problem with the national anthem is that it is in desperate need of a re mix .The tune isn’t too bad and the words adequate but it does drag and it doesn’t reflect the multi racial nature of our society. In fact there is only one official version of the national anthem and it is in English. A Fijian version is sung but this isn’t a translation it is in fact a Methodist hymn. What we would like to see is a new version using the same basic tune, adding a pacific beat and like the Kiwi and South African anthems absorbing English, Fijian and Hindi into the lyrics. It would be very special.

A further note on the anthem try getting a decent recording of it and you are in big trouble. Black Rose has recorded something that Fiji TV uses but other than that recordings available are dreadful.
Yes, needs a pacific beat, a lali (slit drum) or two, some thumping derua (bamboo rods) in the background and a hint or two of other languages than English!


Pandabonium said...

That would be cool. One way to introduce other languages would be to have it sung in Fijian and some of the words or phrase could be echoed in English and Fiji Hindi and what ever.

I realize there are perhaps over half a dozen spoken in Fiji, but the anthem may have to be limited to a few.

Anyway, an update would seem in order.

Pandabonium said...

Happy Independence Day Fiji.

nzm said...

Happy Independence Day!

Wendy - shouldn't it be 36th instead of 38th, or did something happen in 1968 that I can't remember?

I do remember standing in Albert Park on 10th October 1970, listening to Prince Charles, acting for his mother, hand Fiji over to Ratu Mara, and we sang the National Anthem for the first official time. Of course, we had all been practising it many times in school before then!

It was the most crowded that I have ever witnessed the Park, and a proud moment when the Fiji flag flew from the Government Buildings.

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

Thanks NZ! Yes, it was 36, not 38 so I have edited it!
So you were in Albert Park that day? We were in Rakiraki and I had taught the Class Eight kids from Ra Methodist Primary School to sing a new version of 'This Land is Your Land' for the occasion. (I wasn't a full-time teacher, just a volunteer for Scripture.)
It was a good day for Fiji though somehow 'independence' sneaked up on us as the people didn't really agitate for it - or perhaps I was very naive at the time and didn't notice many things.

nzm said...

Yes - in Albert Park - just! We were on the verge of the road between the park and the Government Building. We couldn't see much at all, as they had built stands for the people to sit in, and as I was only 9 years old at the time, too short to see over most peoples' heads! But we could hear everything, and we could see the Fiji flags being raised on the stands as well as the Government Building.

We also did a local version of This Land is My Land, and 6 friends and I sang it at our annual Grammar School concert one year. Sadly, I can't remember it all now.

I think that a lot of things that were done in the past were done with only a select number of people knowing what was happening. This is still probably true today too!

You'll most likely find that there was some pressure from the UK for Fiji to become independent, and it was presented as a great gift to the Fijian people at the time.

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

The version I played around wtih went like this:
This land is your land,
this land is my land,
from Suva Harbour to Yasawa Islands,
from the raintree forests to the Rewa Delta,
this land was made for your and me.
As I went walking along King's Highway...
then something about waving cane-fields.
I can't remember the rest.