“Performing is more than just me standing up and singing a song in front of people; it is a chance for me to share a vision and a mission,” - Mia Kami.
Mia Kami is a Tongan songtress currently studying at the University of the South Pacific in Suva. Her passion for indigenous knowledge, climate activism and decolonising the mind is what inspires her music.
The 23-year-old wrote the song "Rooted" after reflecting on the story of an anti-logging campaign in Papua New Guinea's Oro province.
"When I was writing it, I wanted it to reflect how there is a deep connection between people of the Pacific, our land, sea and the deep ties to our identity. Current issues such as COVID-19, climate change and indigenous sovereignty remind us of the need to cling to these values that have sustained us as Pacific people. This song is for all people with a yearning for home because we are rooted in our place, our cultures, our traditions and our people. Because no matter where we are, we are here to stay" says Mia.
"Rooted" is a part of the Tongan creatives debut EP called "filohivalu" that is now available to stream on Spotify, Apple Music and can also be found on Youtube. The EP is a collection of songs Mia has sung before for friends and at gigs that are now out there for the public.
Filohivalu was the name of Mia's great grandmother and the middle gifted to her by her grnadfather from his api (home) in Tongoleleka Ha'apai. In Tongan "filo" means string or rope and "valu" means eight. So Filohivalu describes eight strands of rope and to filohi (wound/wrap) a rope around eight times. The name came from Mia's ancestor who built a fence around th boundaries of his 'api' which he insisted on having eight strands of rope to bind a strong structure.
"My Uncle told me this at my 21st birthday and said it was a metaphor for life. To think about the values that are most imprtant to bind and secure my indentiy. My hertitage, my family and my faith" expresses Mia on the naming of her EP.
As a storyteller Mia Kami has carefully crafted and molded every aspect of her EP. From songs about a 16-year-old crush on a boy in Tonga to songs about finding Mana within yourself, this EP is a beautiful showcase of Mia Kami's storytelling. Its also an intimate look in to the minds of our young Pasifika women that think about all things from Anxiety to Activism.