Trio of Tongan singers perform ‘O sole mio’ – and it’s pure musical joy

24 August 2021, 20:15

Singers and orchestra at Tupou Tertiary Institute
Singers and orchestra at Tupou Tertiary Institute. Picture: Facebook

By Kyle Macdonald

Here’s a musical performance, filmed in the tiny South Pacific nation, that will hit you right in the heart.

Watch a wonderful moment of music, as one of the Mediterranean’s greatest melodies finds its voice in the distant Pacific.

The video features three singers wearing traditional Pacific lavalavas and was recorded at Tupou Tertiary Institute, a college in Nuku’alofa, the capital of Tonga.

The vocal trio, two tenors and a baritone, join the institute’s orchestra for an alluring arrangement of the classic Neapolitan song, O sole mio. And certainly brings the vocal fireworks too.

Read more: ‘We’re not numbers, we’re humans’ – pianist Lang Lang on the need for music education and opportunity

With its mix of vocal virtuosity, outrageous high notes, smiles, and enthusiastic playing from instrumentalists old and young, it’s something very special from start to finish.

Just watch and feel the magic of the singing and the music...

🇹🇴🇹🇴🇹🇴 From the Island Kingdom of Tonga (Tupou Tertiary Institute)….Gd morning people of the world be bless Always 😘🥰😍.

Posted by Neka Aipolo on Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Our Tongan tunesmiths have since been hitting all the rights notes online, with their video amassing close to 100,000 views.

“Absolutely filled my cup, made me proud, scrambled up some joy inside of me,” wrote Tongan-New Zealand poet Karlo Mila when sharing the video.

The Kingdom of Tonga is an archipelago made up of more than 170 islands. Even though it only has just over 100,000 inhabitants, it joins its neighbouring South Pacific nations in having a huge footprint in terms of arts, music and culture.

New Zealand-Tongan vocalist Filipe Manu is a tenor and a former Jette Parker Young Artists at the Royal Opera House, and a frequent star of the Covent Garden stage too.

Not far from Tonga in the South Pacific is Samoa, which can claim the roots of an astonishing number of international opera stars, from the hugely popular trio Sol3 Mio, to baritone Jonathan Lemalu and the young star Benson Wilson.

And a number of years ago, Sol3 Mio rose to huge international fame with their virtuosic and viral performance of this very song

From Naples to the tiniest islands of the Pacific, it’s proof that great music, and the love of making it, crosses the seas to every corner of the world.

And together – singers, players, audience, and internet-watchers – we all feel the joy it brings.