The inaugural Solomon Islands National Panpipe Festival opens in Honiara this afternoon.

Minister of Culture and Tourism Hon. Batholomew Parabolo officially opened the festival today which coincides with the week-long celebrations in Honiara to farewell the 14 years Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI.

A total of eight panpipe groups selected from around the country from distinct cultures where panpipe music is played will showcase these unique sounds during the week.

Minister Parabolo in his speech welcomed all participants who come from the provinces to show and share their culture with the rest of the country especially as an appreciation to RAMSI and the work they have done for the country.

Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Mr. Andrew Nihopara said the idea to host a Panpipe Festival in the country has been with the Ministry for a long time.

He thanked the government and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism through the Culture Division who worked tirelessly to make this idea become reality.

He also thanked all participants who have made the time to come out of the provinces to share their culture of panpipe music with the rest of the country.

Director of Culture Division Mr. Denis Marita says 20 years from now this festival may become an international event.

“Today a seed is being planted and years from now this festival may become an international festival.” Marita said.

The eight cultural groups taking part in this inaugural festival are Vasa cultural group (Choiseul), KVU cultural group (Isabel province), Kavachi bamboo band (Marovo, Western Province), Aginiasato cultural group, East Malaita (Malaita Province), Oloha panpipers, Small Malaita (Malaita Province), Tawatana panpipers (Makira/Ulawa province), Naratana Wasi na Áu, Are’are (Malaita Province), Waru, Areáre (Malaita Province) and Mae ka Aniani, Areáre (Malaita Province).

This afternoon each of the eight participating groups presented an item as part of the opening ceremony.

The Vasa cultural group from Choiseul province opened the ceremony with their unique panpipe music followed by KVU cultural group from Isabel Province.  Kavachi bamboo band from Marovo is an all women group and they performed two items followed by Aginiasato cultural group from East Malaita.  Tawantana panpipers  was next followed by Oloha panpipers.  Areáre’s two groups Waru and Mae ka aniani presented their groups together and the Naratana Wasi na Áu closed the show.

Shows will run from 9am to 4,30pm each day beginning tomorrow until Friday when the festival will close.