Discover the shared and distinct musical collaborations of islander songkeepers from the Pacific and Indian Ocean as they voice concerns of a changing ocean.

Small Island Big Song unites musicians of island nations through song, drawing from the shared seafaring heritage of the Pacific and Indian Oceans. The concert brings together some of the most prominent artists of Taiwan, Madagascar, Mauritius, Tokelau/Aotearoa (New Zealand), and Rapa Nui (Easter Island), performing songs they co-wrote over the past eight years, supported by live visuals with footage filmed over 16 island nations on a three-year field trip.

Motivated by their concerns for the ocean, a couple, Taiwanese producer BaoBao Chen and Australian music producer/filmmaker Tim Cole, spent the past eight years recording and filming with artists on sixteen island nations, sharing songs from island to island. Outcomes include two award-winning albums, a feature film, and a concert.

“Culture is the framework through which we understand our relationship to our social and physical environments. It is our shared patterns of behavior, interactions, and beliefs. Fluid, ever evolving and whether we are aware of it or not, it is the core of our guiding personal narratives, our sense of self.

Our dominant global culture is failing us. Our planet’s natural ecosystem on which we depend for our very survival, is collapsing around us. The evidence is tangible, lived and indisputable. Yet we fail to respond with the resolve and urgency that nature, that our future generations demand, challenging and questioning our sense of self.

Those of the ocean have maintained successful communities on fragile islands for countless generations and their cultural lineage embodies this. Small Island Big Song is an ensemble of such people, artists who against all sensible mainstream cultural advice have made a choice to sing foremost in the language and maintain the musical sensibilities of their heritage. They are the songkeepers continuing an unbroken cultural lineage back to their first ancestors to step, sleep, die and be born on their homelands. Their music embodies this knowledge, and as with music itself it is only revealed through movement as it is shared, through your listening it lives.” – BaoBao Chen and Tim Cole

NYU Abu Dhabi currently chairs the Universities Climate Network, which comprises UAE-based universities and higher education institutions to facilitate dialogues, workshops, public events, policy briefs, and youth participation in the lead up to and beyond COP28. Presented in support of COP28.

Presented as part of the lead-up to COP28

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