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Kala Bline

Solomoni Biumaiono
Sunday, December 02, 2012

After spending years practising and fine tuning, visiting and revisiting their sound, Kala Bline has finally made up its mind to come in from the cold.

Kala Bline is now headlining at Traps Bar and Grill as its house band with owner Gary Apted opting to bring in a live band after going through other bands like Sam Stevens and experimenting with other combinations.

Now Apted has brought in Kala Bline which has guitar sage and formerly of the Rootstrata fame Ioane 'Bruce' Burese who is co founder of this Raiwaqa band alongside George Epeli and Harold Koi.

Burese, Koi and Epeli are the surviving founders of Kala Bline which was formed 10 years ago, but Koi says it does not mean that Conan Gock and Asesela Ravuvu have been excluded.

"They are busy right now pursuing their own dreams," Koi says.

The nightclub gig was a big no no for Kala Bline, who for years preferred belting out acoustic sessions in the comforts of their neighbourhood at the Raiwaqa Housing projects at lower Milverton Road than jamming in the bright lights of the famous Suva nightlife.

For them it's about working on tightening their rhythm section and getting the younger guys in the band more involved. It's all about cutting loose on the energy than anything else.

This music policy is highly revered within the Kala Bline circle, that despite several approaches and opportunities from others to map out a 'break out' phase for the band in the local music scene, it was politely declined.

Fame and fortune comes in a distant second and probably a miniscule blip on their radar, so Apted has the good fortune of finally getting this band out of its shell and playing on a stage where it deserves to be.

The band does not specialise on any particular form or genre of music as they would play anything that feels good, and all kinds of fusion, but it is firmly rooted in roots-rock, soft rock, reggae, light jazz and the blues. Plenty of the blues.

The band first gained prestige when they won the South Pacific Festival of Youth theme song competition in 2009 with their original Let the Spirit.

It once tried to get into the studio for a single in 2011 but that all came to nought as Kala Bline thought to give more time to practise.

All their original songs and tunes have been put on ice and this original material can be put into two albums.

How Koi, Epeli and Burese changed their minds to finally become a permanent part of the local music scene can only be known to them, but the band evolved when it made its debut at Traps Niteclub on Wednesday night.

Kala Bline youngsters Marcellin Tawake (guitar&vocals), Ilisoni Tikomainiusiladi (vocals) and Talisa and Etienne Rabaka (vocals) made their debut on Wednesday.

They have roped in Dave Stevens and another keyboard player to make up the new lineup for the Traps show.

Tawake and Shoji, who, after religiously following the older band members through the years, have finally taken to the stage like fish takes to water.

This is the second generation Kala Bline who have finally come of age and much to the delight of their fans and families who turned up in numbers to lend support to these musically talented young men from Raiwaqa.

What first started off 10 years ago as a neighbourhood initiative to keep the young boys on the straight and narrow, has finally evolved into a musical journey which has brought these young men a sense of purpose.

While many groups and bands would have disintegrated due to the lack of money, Kala Bline labours on the food of love and the sweat of their passion. Future plans are still hazy like the night I first got introduced to their handiwork, but one thing that stands out strong for Kala Bline is their togetherness.

Long gone are the venting that was the start of Kala Bline many years ago where the housing projects and their vices rule their lives.

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