Culture is like love -- if you hold tight, you'll be OK. That's the message of Mou Piri, a South Pacific love song that has touched hearts around the world. The film explores the importance of music and dance in Cook Islands culture, through the story of a romantic song that has become synonymous with island weddings.
This short documentary was produced for the Film Raro Challenge 2013, shot on location in Rarotonga, Cook Islands. Singer: Tara Kauvai, Composer: Jon Jonassen, Producer/director: Karin Williams, Cinematographer Fred Renata, Editor Thom Burton. Official selection: Hawai'i International Film Festival, Aperture Asia Pacific International Ethnographic Documentary Festival, FIFO International Documentary Film Festival, Pollywood Pasifika Film Festival.
Lyrics & music by Jon Jonassen
Amiri au iakoe, 'Ura'ura taua
Tupu mai, Tupu te inangaro
I roto i te poiri
Te tangi o te kita, Te reo imene
Mou piri, Mou piri au iakoe
I te kimi ma'ana
E rangi te atea, Moana te 'o'onu
Motukore te openga
Ta taua i papa'u
I touch you [to ask for a dance]. During our graceful moment of dancing together, we discover the innocence of love within the shadows. The captivating sound of guitar and sweet singing of voices, move us to search for warmth and magic. The promises that we make to each other traverse the width of the earth, the depth of oceans and the endlessness of time.
Copyright: Jon Jonassen 1975, APRA/SPACEM
The song Mou Piri was based on Rarotonga Maori cultural images of commitment, innocence, kindness, hope and love. Based in the 1950s, it describes a first dance that could become short-lived or the beginning of a lifetime of sharing; a commitment that is symbolized in marriage; a first meeting that could become eternal. Mou Piri celebrates youthful innocence and family love while recognizing the healing and comforting power that is found in all of us.