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Isa Lei Fijian Farewell Song

The song ‘Isa Lei’ is a traditional Fijian Farewell Song sung in many resorts, hotels and lodgings across Fiji. It is a truly special experience that is sung to guests prior to their departure as a sign of respect and also sadness.  The song’s moving melody and heartfelt delivery often find departing guests in tears as their ‘new family’ farewell them.

Tradition says that the ‘Isa Lei’ was composed by Turaga na Tui Nayau, Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba (father of Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, founding father of the modern nation of Fiji) in 1916 for Adi Litia Tavanavanua when she went to visit Tubou, Lakeba.

The ‘Isa Lei’ melody comes from a traditional Tongan love song, but the Fijians adopted it and turned it in to a farewell song. Below you can see the video of the local Nacula Island community community singing the ‘Isa Lei’ to guests prior to their departure:

FIJIAN LYRICS

Isa Isa vulagi lasa dina

Nomu lako au na rarawa kina

Cava beka ko a mai cakava

Nomu lako au na sega ni lasa

 

CHORUS

Isa Lei na noqu rarawa

Ni ko sa na vodo ena mataka

Bau nanuma, na nodatou lasa

Mai Suva nanuma tikoga

 

Vanua rogo na nomuni vanua

Ke na ca ni levu tu na ua

Lomaqu voli meu bau butuka

Tovolea ke balavu na bula

 

CHORUS

 

Domoni dina na nomu yanuyanu

Kena kau wale na salusalu

Mocelolo, bua, na kukuwalu

Lagakali, aba na rosi damu

 

CHORUS

ENGLISH LYRICS

Isa isa you are my only treasure

Must you leave me so lonely and forsaken?

As the roses miss the sun at dawn

At every moment my heart is yearning for you

 

CHORUS

Isa lei the purple shadow is falling

Sad the morrow will dawn upon my sorrow

Do not forget when you are so far away

The precious moments at Oarsman’s Bay

 

Isa isa my heart was filled with pleasure

From the moment I heard your greeting

Mid the sunshine we spend the hours together

Now so swiftly those happy hours are fleeting

 

CHORUS

 

Over the ocean your island home is calling

This happy country where roses bloom and slender

Oh if I could but journey there beside you

Then forever my heart would sing in rapture

 

CHORUS

Sunset Oarsman's Bay Lodge Fiji

If you want to learn more about the local Nacula Island community, start exploring our website or contact our reservations team.

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