Wednesday, April 17, 2024, 7:30 PM

Street and Davis Performance Hall, Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre

This performance will last 90 minutes. There will also be one 15-minute intermission.

*Run times listed here are based on information provided at this time and are subject to change.


"Beautiful cinematography and incredible music … one coherent, jaw-dropping piece.’’

Billboard Asia, Japan

The musicians in Small Island, Big Song would tell you that the ocean does not divide their island homes. It connects them. Small Island, Big Song is a music, film, and performing arts project uniting the islands of the Pacific and Indian oceans through artistic collaboration — a contemporary and relevant musical statement from a region that shares an ancient seafaring heritage and the impact of our changing sea.  

Framed in a theatrical narrative amongst panoramic visuals of the artist’s homelands, the audience experiences a musical journey across the breadth and into the soul of the island nations, meeting an ancient seafaring ancestry and addressing the impacts of climate crisis head on.

Drawing on a roster of renowned first nation artists from across the Pacific and Indian Oceans, the concert features musicians performing irresistible oceanic grooves to soulful island ballads. Combining music, spoken word, and AV projections featuring footage collected during a three-year film trip across 16 countries guided by the artists on their homelands, the work is inspiring and unforgettable. 

Toured to 15 countries across four continents, over 170,000 people have seen Small Island, Big Song live since its premiere at SXSW 2018. It has become a feature of the concerts for encores to spontaneously erupt into a shared celebration, with instruments, voices, and dancing bodies rising from the seats. 

Moving beyond the concert experience, Small Island, Big Song offers a variety of opportunities for students and audiences to investigate the environmental, political, social, and cultural contexts on our oceans’ islands. The multiplatform project was founded by Taiwanese producer BaoBao Chen and Australian music producer and filmmaker Tim Cole in 2015. The two have been recording and filming with over 100 musicians in nature across the island nations of the Pacific and Indian Oceans. 

Small Island, Big Song explores the cultural connections between the descendants of the seafarers of the Pacific and Indian Oceans through the Austronesian migration, working with artists who have made a choice to maintain the cultural voice of their people, to sing in the language, and to play the instruments of their land. These unique lineages mixed with their diverse contemporary styles — roots-reggae, beats, grunge, R&B, folk, and spoken word — establish a contemporary musical dialogue between cultures as far afield as Madagascar, Aotearoa (New Zealand), Taiwan, Mauritius, the Marshall Islands, Papua New Guinea, Tahiti, and Rapa Nui (Easter Island).

A map in different shades of blue and with yellow orange location markers indicate the homelands of the artists of "Small Island, Big Song"
A map of the Pacific and Indian Ocean islands indicates the homelands of the "Small Island, Big Song" artists

Support for this performance is provided by the Charles and Dorothy Lambert Endowment for the Arts.

This is the first performance of Small Island, Big Song at the Moss Arts Center.

This engagement of Small Island, Big Song is made possible through the ArtsCONNECT program of Mid Atlantic Arts with support from the National Endowment for the Arts.

 The logo for the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation. On a white background are the words "Mid Atlantic" in teal, stacked one over the other on the left side, and "Arts" much larger and within a yellow circle on the right side.