Life Onboard
Tim Cole and Bao Bao Chen: Small Island Big Song, Dec 28, 2016
Tim Cole and Bao Bao Chen ask the audience to sing like a kookaburra, an indigenous Australian bird.
Tim Cole and Bao Bao Chen share a life which could be described as beyond most people's dreams: travelling around remote islands in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, meeting indigenous tribes, and engaging in an artistic project to bring the music of these peoples to the wider world. As they told their story to a room full of Peace Boat participants, one could see the awe they inspired in their audience. "We wanted to do something which would be challenging for each of us, but which would be bigger than both of us", explained Cole effusively.

Bao Bao Chen and Tim Cole take a break from activities to enjoy the ocean view.
For the past 18 months, Tim Cole, an Australian music producer and film director specializing in cross-cultural indigenous arts projects, and Bao Bao Chen, a Taiwanese travel-blogger, producer and story-teller, have been tracing the footsteps of indigenous Taiwanese people, who 5000 years ago migrated widely across the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Presently known as Austronesians, these people include indigenous Taiwanese, Filipinos, Indonesians, Malays, Malagasy in Madagascar, Torres Strait islanders of Australia, Polynesians, and Melanesians and Micronesians in the Pacific.

Bao Bao Chen dances with Peace Boat participants at the Christmas Eve party.
Small Island Big Song is a unique and ambitious project which aims to unite this now dispersed ancient tribe through its cultural and musical heritage. During their time on Peace Boat the pair will be producing the recordings they made with numerous indigenous musicians in their grassroots villages into a multi-layered song and music video. Their ultimate goal is to create an album and film which will resonate with the international community.

Peace Boat participants enjoy learning the basic steps of an indigenous dance during a special workshop.
Chen and Cole also hope that Small Island Big Song will raise awareness about an urgent issue impacting the inhabitants of these small islands, and which moreover poses a threat to the entire planet: climate change. Through providing a platform to the indigenous people who know how to live sustainably on their small islands, they explained, "perhaps we may all learn to live in harmony with our small island - the Earth." Creative projects like these can help to focus minds towards achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 13 on Climate Action by 2030.

Peace Boat participants perform a Hula dance from Hawai'i during one of Bao Bao Chen and Tim Cole's lectures.
Whilst on board the pair have engaged Peace Boat participants in an eclectic range of events, including open studios which provide the opportunity to learn more about the music of specific indigenous tribes; workshops teaching the basics of indigenous dances; and a crowd-funding workshop showing participants how to raise the funds required to successfully implement their own creative projects.

Cole and Chenfs infectious enthusiasm for their work was captured in the words of Murayama Kuniko, a Peace Boat participant who keenly attended many of these events: "We should be passionate about protecting the ancient cultures of indigenous people and do our best to unite the world."