Singing produces joy. It’s chemical and it’s indisputable. We’ve had lots of Rachel Hore’s singing groups at Daku, and they are always happy occasions. The wind may blow (it did this week, but not too hard), the rain may fall (which it did intermittently) but the sunshine produced by the choir is always breaking through (and the real thing did too). So, mixed weather outside but glorious choral magic inside.
Rachel ran daily morning workshops, and brought in Seke from Vivili village to some of them. Seke is a young Fijian singer and teacher; he travels around Fiji teaching groups and playing his guitar. His voice has become strained and gravelly with too many years of belting it out – Fijian villages don’t have the luxury of microphones for their teachers. But his verve and elation are electric. With Seke on his guitar and Rachel on her drum, and her beautiful voice soaring alongside the choir, there were sessions of pulsating song and even dance as both choir and the staff at the resort joined hands to move to the music.
The week produced a new star: Anneke, the 10-year old daughter of one of the choristers, not only took part fully in all the singing but also taught the group a new song – and conducted it at the final performance.
At the final concert Seke’s own choir from Vivili village came to Daku to sing and perform a meke (the traditional Fijian dance accompanied by the acappella chanting and singing of the other villagers), and Rachel’s choir sang the songs they had learned during the week. Outside was blowing a gale and pouring with rain; everyone crushed into the shelter of the big bure and the result was one of the best concerts we’ve ever had – bursting with an urgent joy, embracing everyone in the magic of music, transcending weather and uniting singers and audience alike.