The
Tatau Song

Translated in Samoan, ‘Pese o le Tatau’, is a song that is traditionally sung while an individual is being tattooed.

As depicted in ‘The Legend of the Tatau’. Below shows the Samoan & loose English translation of the ‘Tatau Song’ as chanted by the twin sisters, Taema & Tilafaiga. 

TUFAS MALU

 

 

 

This is the known origin

Of the tattooing of the tatau in Samoa

A journey by two maidens

Who swam from Fiji across the open sea

They brought the tattooing kit

And recited their unchanging chant

That said women were to be tattooed

But men were not to be tattooed

Thus the reason why men are now tattooed

Is because of the confusion of the maidens’ 

chant

Arriving at the coast of Falealupo

They spotted a giant clam

As the maidens dived

Their chant was reversed

To say that men were to be tattooed

And not women

Pity the youth now lying

While the tufuga starts

Alas he is crying loudly

As the tattooing tool cuts all over

Young fellow, young fellow, be brave

This is the sport of male heirs

Despite the enormous pain

Afterwards you will swell with pride

Of all the countries in the Pacific

Samoa is the most famous

The sogaimiti walking towards you

With his fa’aila glistening

Curved lines, motifs like ali

Like centipedes, combs like wild bananas

Like sigano and spearheads

The greatest in the whole world

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

O le vi’i o le tatau Samoa

O le mafuaaga lenei ua iloa

O le taaga o le tatau i Samoa

O le malaga a teine to’alua

Na feausi mai Fiti le vasa loloa

Na la aumai ai o le atoau

ma sia la pese e tutumau

Fai mai e tata o fafine

Ae le tata o tane

A o le ala ua tata ai tane

Ina ua sese sia la pese

Taunuu i gatai o Falealupo

Ua vaaia loa o se faisua ua tele

Totofu loa lava o fafine

Ma ua sui ai sia la pese

Fai mai e tata o tane

Ae le tata o fafine

Talofa i si tama ua taatia

O le tufuga lea ua amatalia

Talofa ua tagi aueue

Ua oti’otisolo le au tapulutele

Sole Sole, ai loto tele

O le taaloga a tama tane

E ui lava ina tiga tele

Ae mulimuli ana ua a fefete

O atu motu uma o le Pasefika

Ua sili Samoa le ta’taua

O le soga’imiti ua savalivali mai

Ua fepulafi mai ana faaila

Aso faaifo, faamulialiao

Faaatualoa, selu faalaufao

O le sigano faapea faaulutao

Ua ova i le vasalaolao

 

 

 

 

 

 

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