Small Island Big Song brings a message of unity and urgency around climate change to Scottsdale

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Small Island Big Song will bring together indigenous musicians from the Pacific and Indian Oceans on February 18 at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts.

Eight musicians from different parts of the world will perform together, supported by a projected video shot over three years and across 16 island nations. The message that Small Island Big Song wants to share is that before writing, songs held the power to share cultural knowledge, and she wants to pass on those songs before they were lost.

Small Island Big Song has toured 15 countries on four continents. It has become a feature of their concerts for the encores to erupt spontaneously in shared celebration, with instruments, vocals and dancing bodies rising from the seats.

“This event is more than an incredible celebration of island music for fans of world music,” said Abbey Messmer, director of programming at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. “Yes, the show features a beautiful mix of musicians from New Zealand, Taiwan, Australia, Madagascar, Solomon Islands, Mauritius, Marshall Islands and Papa New Guinea, but the project also shows the work of filmmakers, oceanographers, scientists and poets who are making an impact on climate change. As an institution, it is important to us to elevate indigenous voices, and with this project, we are learning more about the environmental challenges facing islanders in the Pacific and Indian Ocean, and we hope to be inspired to live more sustainably.

Small Island Big Song uses a variety of platforms to deliver its message, including an award-winning album and documentary, a live concert, and an outreach program.

On February 17, the day before the main performance, Small Island Big Song will host a free panel discussion on how artists can tackle the climate crisis. Diandra Adamczyk, Senior Programming Coordinator for Scottsdale Arts, notes that this production will be a clear example of how art and activism can intersect as the discussion on climate change is urgently needed.

The roundtable will feature three members of Small Island Big Song: Emlyn, a Mauritian multi-instrumentalist and singer; Putad, a multi-instrumentalist and singer Friends from Taiwan; and Selina Leem, a spoken word artist from the Marshall Islands. They will be joined by Gila River Indian Community activist Napoleon Marrietta and a local moderator.

Another engagement option is an interactive Memory Lounge performance hosted by Scottsdale Arts Learning & Innovation, where musicians from Small Island Big Song will introduce attendees to unusual instruments, teach about Pacific Islander music and culture, and perform. Memory Lounge is a program that aims to engage and energize people with mild to moderate memory loss and their care partners through high quality artistic experiences.

“We are excited about this offering, featuring Small Island Big Song, as attendees will meet the musicians in an intimate and relaxed setting and become part of the music as they sing and explore instruments from different cultures,” said Laura Hales. , curator of learning and innovation for Scottsdale Arts Learning & Innovation. “It’s a rare treat that is sure to help create wonderful new memories for everyone involved.”

All three events will take place at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, 7380 E. 2nd St., Scottsdale, Arizona. The concert begins at 8 p.m. on Friday, February 18. Tickets start at $24 or pay what you can. The free roundtable, Climate Crisis: Our Response As Artists, begins at 7 p.m. on Thursday, February 17. And the Memory Lounge event is at 1 p.m. on Friday, February 18.

For more information on the main performance and panel discussion, visit ScottsdalePerformingArts.org/events or call 480-499-TKTS (8587). For more information on the Memory Lounge event, visit ScottsdaleArtsLearning.org/events.

All guests 12 years and older must provide a negative COVID-19 PCR test, taken within 72 hours of the show date, and photo ID to attend shows. Alternatively, customers can provide proof of full vaccination. Masks are strongly encouraged to protect artists, staff and patrons. For complete health and safety protocols, visit ScottsdalePerformingArts.org/covid-19-response.

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