Text and Translation
Si manu la’iti’iti Sa i luga e la’au O lo’o pese ia te a’u
Pese i le Rosa Sa i luga o le la’au
Little bird Atop the tree Sing a song to me
Sing to the rose Atop the tree
• Vowels are similar to Italian vowels.
• Vowels preceded by an apostrophe have a glottal attack on the vowel which follows. • Dipthongs turn immediately to the second vowel.
• “g” is pronounced [N] as in “sing.”
Si manu la’iti’iti is a Samoan rendering of the song Little Birdie In The Tree, which was written by P. P. Bliss and published in his collection of Sunday School Music titled The Charm (Chicago, 1871). Birds have always been a popular theme of many Samoan folk songs, so it comes as no surprise that this piece was adopted and taught widely in pre-schools and church Sunday schools. Even though there is no knowing when this song entered into the Samoan culture, it has been made available as a singing resource for use in New Zealand schools as early as the 1980’s, where—according to official government records—there are over 86,000 Samoan speakers (Ministry of Pacific Peoples, 2017). The version used in this arrangement was taught to the composer by his grandmother, Fa’aiuga So’oalo Palelei, who remembers this song from her childhood growing up and around the village of Fale’ula found on Sāmoa’s main island, Upolu.
Karen Grylls, editor