AFTER more than decade being dormant the Solomon Islands Music Federation (SIMF) was revived over the weekend.
The re-activation of the music federation was marked and celebrated on Sunday – 18th October with a music banquet at the Monarch Bar & Grill.
Reports said, it was an exciting musical concert being staged showcasing of some of country’s top and best musical talents. These included the likes of Paeva, Davu, Sol Jay and some young aspiring musicians.
Interim President, Dennis Marita told the audience the federation is now taking a new journey into the future regarding music development in Solomon Islands.
“The time is now for us to embark on a new journey for the future of music in Solomon Islands. Music is an integral part of society and it has been with us for centuries. It is within our cultures through songs, chants and within the natural environment. The panpipe music is as an example of the presence of music in culture.”
He stressed that Solomon Islands has tremendous potential in the music industry as obviously seen through the high popularity of Solomon music in the region.
“DMP, for example, is widely popular in the region, even as far as Esther Island (Rapanui). These people speak Spanish, yet they can sing to songs (DMP) from Solomon Islands…”
Mr. Marita stressed that music is an untapped resource of this country.
“A gold mine that is just beneath our nose,” he mentioned. “We only need to explore it and put it to the test. This brings to light the potential of our Human Resource in the field art”, he added.
“This has been an over-looked and over-sighted issue for so long. We have been complaining about social problems of youths in this country. But have we for a second stop to think how to deal with this issue?
“A lot of these youths are artistically gifted and talented, either in sports, music or art. These are some of the most expensive commodities in the world. USA, for example, banks on its Art and Music Industry for about 40% of its national revenue. Should Solomon Islands develop this industry, it may become one of the lucrative economic viability for our country”.
The Interim President mentioned that the SIMF is now embarking on a new journey with a new sense of direction. “Now it is mainly about achieving tangible benefits for its members and the music sector in Solomon Islands.”
He stressed that SIMF stands for the welfare and benefit of its members. He encourages all musicians and music associations’ to affiliate with the Federation to help achieve future aspirations. The SIMF is only a facilitator to ensure that opportunities are sipped down to its members and music pockets in the country.
Regarding membership, the Interim President pointed out the various categories of membership will be offered including; Individual membership, band membership, and affiliate membership for Music Associations. Companies will be offered Corporate Membership status.
Mr. Marita mentioned that the interim committee will sit down to look at developing a 5 years Corporate Plan for SIMF (2016-2020) and the Annual Work Plan for 2016. This will be done in consultation with its close partners and stakeholders.
Further to this is the establishment of the Solomon Islands Performers Rights Association (SIPRA). This is a Collecting Society which will deal exclusively with the economic benefits (royalties) and economic rights of the musicians.
This establishment will assist the SIMF to achieve tangible economic benefits for its members. SIPRA ensures that the Intellectual Property (IP) of the artist is respected, safe-guarded and valued accordingly. He mentioned that SPC through its Human Development Agency, is prepared to assist SIMF establish SIPRA for the benefit of its members.
According to SPC, they are prepared to assist technically and by enabling the availability of experts to work with SIMF establish SIPRA. Fiji already has a similar set-up known as FIPRA (Fiji Performers Rights Association). Australia does also have one known as APRA.
The plan is that SIPRA will link up with other similar establishments in the region and that the Rights of our artists/ musicians will be protected in their jurisdictions. Vice-versa we will also protect their artists/ musicians within our jurisdiction as well.
Mr. Marita acknowledged the core sponsors of the event who were the Ministry of Culture & Tourism, Ministry of Women, Youth & Children’s Affairs and the Ministry of Home Affairs.
The Ministry of Culture & Tourism donated $50,000 towards this event, whilst the Ministry of Women, Youth & Children’s Affairs donated $10,000.
The Ministry of Home Affairs also pledged in their support pending any specific request from SIMF regarding this event.
Mr. Marita thanked the Government for its over-whelming support towards SIMF. He mentioned that SIMF is a government initiative back in the 90s, and will remain its responsibility to ensure its sustainability and durability.
In responding to the SIMF President, the Director of Youth of the Ministry of Women, Youth and Children’s Affairs, reciprocated by stressing his Ministry’s support for the development of Music in Solomon Islands.
He challenged the revitalised SIMF Executive to produce tangible results for our musicians. He mentioned that funding for music has always been available through his Ministry, however, SIMF was not functional at that time and so most of the funds were unutilised. He called on the SIMF to be strategic in planning their work programmes so that funding opportunities can be available.
The Guest of Honour for the event, George Palua who is the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry Of Home Affairs, mentioned the current Government’s Policy (DCCG) to shift Music Affairs under his Ministry to combine with Sports.
PS Palua mentioned the potentials of these two sectors obviously seen through the massive talents in the youth population today.
He mentioned that music is a way forward for our society regarding providing opportunities for our people to contribute meaningfully to national development.
He mentioned that his Ministry will support the SIMF provided that they have a Plan of Action with necessary costs and programme of activities. He strongly advised SIMF to utilise well and accordingly, whatever funds remitted to them by the Government.
“It is your chance (SIMF) to regain public confidence and Trust. As such, you must leave up to your obligations in an accountable and transparent manner,” he stressed.
The event concluded with an electrifying and captivating performance by various old and young musicians.
The Director of Sports (Ministry of Home Affairs), Mr. John Bakeua cannot keep his excitement of the concert and thanked SIMF for the kind invitation to all of those who attended.
“This is one of the best local music performances I have ever seen and witnessed. It was small but powerful. This is a good sign for the future”, he exclaimed.
“Tonight now proves to us that there is a future for Music in this country. The timing and the people has to be right for this moment. And I believe it is now,” he stressed.
Mr. Bakeua further encouraged the participation of women and girls in music. He commended the only female performer for the night Caroline Isa (Koplyn) for her captivating performance.
A good number of old and prominent musicians also attended this event and have expressed their appreciation for this initiative to revitalise the SIMF.