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Isa Lei - Fiji's Beautiful Song of Farewell

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Fijians in traditional dress

As you depart your resort, the Fijian staff will gather to sing "Isa Lei," the traditional Fijian song of farewell.

Tourism Fiji

It s pretty much guaranteed that after the words bula (welcome) and vinaka (please), the two words you will hear more often than any others during a visit to Fiji are "Isa Lei." That's because they are the title to the beautiful song of farewell that Fijians sing to departing visitors.

Melodic and inspiring, its sweet notes rise in layers of hymn-like stanzas. Fijians get plenty of practice singing on Sundays in church (attend a service to be wowed by the melodic harmonies), and their farewell song to you is certain to arouse emotion.

"Isa Lei" is sung in Fijian, and was recorded in 1967 by the Australian folk singers The Seekers on their album "Roving With the Seekers." Here is an English translation:

Isa, Isa you are my only treasure;

Must you leave me, so lonely and foresaken?

As the roses will miss the sun at dawning,

Every moment my heart for you is yearning.

 

Isa Lei, the purple shadow falling,

Sad the morrow will dawn upon my sorrow;

O, forget not, when you're far away,

Precious moments beside dear Suva.

 

Isa, Isa, my heart was filled with pleasure,

From the moment I heard your tender greeting;

'Mid the sunshine, we spent the hours together,

Now so swiftly those happy hours are fleeting.

 

Isa Lei, the purple shadow falling,

Sad the morrow will dawn upon my sorrow;

O, forget not, when you're far away,

Precious moments beside dear Suva.

 

O'er the ocean your island home is calling,

Happy country where roses bloom in splendor;

O, if I could but journey there beside you,

Then forever my heart would sing in rapture.

 

Isa Lei, the purple shadow falling,

Sad the morrow will dawn upon my sorrow;

O, forget not, when you're far away,

Precious moments beside dear Suva.

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