Contributed by guest writer Leonard Lords
Fano Maohi 2007 is over and the groups were very competitive. Some of the groups who won are Hitia O Te Ra, Malialole, Da Island Way, Tehamata, and Tamariki Ariki. However one group out did themselves and since I'm friends with them I was very proud! A group from Las Vegas known as Ninth Island Productions stole the show. I've seen them practicing and thought they were fun but I was thinking they might be in trouble because of the strong field of competitors. However, when they came in to perform their aparima they were simply outstanding!!! The professional groups as well as the group from Tahiti were speechless. The crowd cheered and you could see tears in the eyes of the audience. Needless to say they took first place in the aparima category.
After the aparima they performed the Ute (song being sung with a small band). They left the audience singing along and tapping their feet. As they performed, the whole traveling group from Tahiti began singing along and clapping to the beat. When the song ended the crowd again exploded in cheer many gave them a standing ovation.
Ninth Island Productions was the overall champion of the event. At the hotel they became quick friends with the group from Tahiti. It was a magical moment as personality took over even though they could not speak the same language. They hung out together joking and having a great time. They discovered the people of Tahiti are as beautiful as the Islands and music. At the Fano Maohi pizza party the two groups sang together, took group shots with each group arm and arm, learned each others songs and exchanged Myspace addresses. It was a great time for all. I am sure when the troupe from Tahiti goes home to the Islands of Tahiti they will be talking about their fun new friends from Ninth Island Productions.
As for next year we already have troupes asking to be part of the event. Groups from Tahiti, Saipan, Micronesia, Yokohama Japan and other groups from California have expressed interest. Even more interest has been expressed by city officials for the 2008 event planning. Check back for more information as it becomes available.
Leonard Lords is a public relations spokesman for the event. He is not involved with judging the event.